Levine fractures fairy tales in the nicest possible way as she's previously demonstrated in the The Princess Test
and The Fairy's Mistake
[both in BKL Ap 15 99]. Her latest book in the Princess Tales series wittily conflates "Cinderella" and "The Glass Hill," adding a gender switch for spice. Ellis longs for his older brothers Ralph and Burt to include him, to approve of him, to appreciate and love him. But they simply ignore him and his fool inventions and call him Cinderellis instead, after his flying powder produced a messy result in the chimney. Princess Marigold, whose father is always going off on quests and leaving her alone, wishes she had a real friend besides her cat, Apricot. When the king, grounded from too many quests gone awry, puts Marigold on a glass hill that suitors have to climb, she figures she better have an escape mechanism. Besides, while interviewing potential princes disguised as a dairymaid, she finds few with good kingdom-ruling ideas. Cinderellis, of course, is full of ideas, and after a few missteps and three magic horses, Ellis and Marigold live happily ever after in a way that includes Ellis' inventions and Marigold's sweet temper. Endearing to the max. GraceAnne A. DeCandido
About the Author
Gail Carson Levine grew up in New York City and has been writing all her life. Her first book for children, Ella Enchanted
, was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Dave At Night
, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish
; The Two Princesses of Bamarre
; and her Princess Tales books: The Princess Test
, The Fairy's Mistake
, Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep
, Cinderellis and the Glass Hill
, For Biddle's Sake
and The Fairy's Return
. She is also the author of the picture book Betsy Who Cried Wolf
, illustrated by Scott Nash.
Gail, her husband, David, and their Airedale, Baxter, live in a two-hundred-year-old farmhouse in the Hudson River Valley.
In Her Own Words...
"I grew up in New York City. In elementary school I was a charter member of the Scribble Scrabble Club, and in high school my poems were published in an anthology of student poetry. I didn't want to be a writer. First I wanted to act and then I wanted to be a painter like my big sister. In college, I was a Philosophy major, and my prose style was very dry and dull! My interest in the theater led me to my first writing experience as an adult. My husband David wrote the music and lyrics and I wrote the book for a children's musical, Spacenapped that was produced by a neighborhood theater in Brooklyn.
"And my painting brought me to writing for children in earnest. I took a class in writing and illustrating children's books and found that I was much more interested in the writing than in the illustrating.
"Most of my job life has had to do with welfare, first helping people find work and then as an administrator. The earlier experience was more direct and satisfying, and I enjoy thinking that a bunch of people somewhere are doing better today than they might have done if not for me."