Cinderella · Fairy Tale · NovElla

Ella Enchanted

“If he knew much about Bast, I was in for trouble – unless orange coaches were common there.”

Orange Pumpkin Coach

Tell a Fairy Tale Day is coming on February 26th! And so I bring you, Ella Enchanted! What could be better than a day for fairy tales? Although that might as well be every day for me…

Ella Enchanted is a delightful Cinderella retelling by Gail Carson Levine. An elaborate fantasy that goes beyond the basics, this version is a favorite of mine from childhood. With a twist reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty, Ella is given a “gift” from her fairy godmother at birth: to always be obedient. It’s more of a gift to her parents, I guess, but Ella’s mother is instantly horrified.

Ella quickly proves she is not a passive damsel in distress. The quest for her fairy godmother and the release of her curse is a fantastical adventure, from a giant’s farm to the royal balls.

I just love how Ella’s pumpkin coach retains its orange color, as referenced in the quote at the top of this post. Levine also makes use of the Perrault version glass slippers in Ella Enchanted.

Ella Enchanted Poster

The book was even made into a movie, starring Anne Hathaway as Ella. Although the movie isn’t very similar to the book, and contains even fewer version-specific Cinderella ‘elements’, the essential Cinderella tale is there, along with singing, dancing, and sparkles. Ella Enchanted is a Cinderella musical in its own right, from entertaining elves to giant weddings.

I read recently that the book has further been adapted to a musical for the stage. That would be fun to see!

Ella Enchanted

Book Blurb: “At her birth, Ella of Frell receives a foolish fairy’s gift—the ‘gift’ of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it’s to hop on one foot for a day and a half, or to chop off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate…

Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.


Movie Cover: “Ella lives in a magical world in which each child, at the moment of their birth, is given a virtuous ‘gift’ from a fairy godmother. Ella’s so-called gift, however, is obedience. This birthright proves itself to be quite the curse once Ella finds herself in the hands of several unscrupulous characters whom she quite literally cannot disobey. Determined to gain control of her life and decisions, Ella sets off on a journey to find her fairy godmother who she hopes will lift the curse. The path, however, isn’t easy — Ella must outwit a slew of unpleasant obstacles including ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, elves and Prince Charmont’s evil uncle, who wants to take over the crown and rule the kingdom.


Glass Slippers


8 thoughts on “Ella Enchanted

  1. Interesting post. I didn’t know Ella Enchanted (haven’t seen the movie yet) was a retelling of Cinderella.

    minor suggestion– the two paragraphs before the movie trailer seem duplicated in thought with the paragraph after. You could probably condense this section.

  2. Oh it would be fun to see it on stage! Ella Enchanted is probably the first fairy tale retelling I read, and it inspired my love of the genre. It remains one of my favorites! I love rereading the part with the letters between Ella and Char.

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