"Cinderella" is one of my favorite fairy tales: A young girl with a loyal nature and a gentle heart finds true love and happiness.
I translated the story from the original French (Charles Perrault) and illustrated it in 1988... with people. I took the poetic license of giving the wicked stepsisters a little dog, and ironically, they treated it better than they did "Cinderella."
The thing that has always disturbed me about some fairy tales is that the heroine is always beautiful and her Prince Charming always tall and handsome. That is not the way it is in real life. The Prince fails to recognize Cinderella without her magnificent dress or her glass slipper. He seems a bit dopey. Any dog would be smarter than that!
So, I thought, why not make the characters in "Cinderella" dogs? They don't care how you look, they fall in love instantly, they are true and loyal companions, and they love to have a good time. What fun they would have at a ball!
We have two dogs, Jack, a yellow Lab, and Katie, a Welsh corgi. Jack fell in love with Katie instantly. He is also a little dopey but very loveable. He moons over Katie night and day. It reminded me of the Prince, who is unable to think of anyone but Cinderella. In fact, I originally cast them as the Prince and Cinderella, but midway through I realized that I wanted to emphasize the fact that love is blind and made Cinderella a very large dog and her Prince, while very charming, only half her height. Life is like that.
Cinderella's dress is no more beautiful than any of the others at the ball, and she herself us not more beautiful. Looks are not a factor in this love story. Cinderella is honest and tells her Prince of the enchantment. They do not get married instantly, but they do remain true and loyal companions... as dogs always do.
While I love every word of the original text, I did shorten it considerably for young readers. A few dog references were added and an explanation or two seemed necessary to make the story clearer, but I did my best to retain the voice and flavor of the original. "Cinderella" is a timeless classic. The changes were made with respect and affection. As so many artists have done before me, I have given the tale a twist. It was done in the spirit of fun and was intended as the sincerest form of admiration.
November 18, 2000
To find out more about fairy tales in Scholastic's Writing with Writers.
Guide students through a fairy-tale genre study. By immersing themselves in the genre, students will determine why people tell such magical tales!