Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cinderella Liberator” as Want to Read:
Cinderella Liberator
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Cinderella Liberator

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  56 reviews
In this modern twist on the classic story, Cinderella, who would rather just be Ella, meets her fairy godmother, goes to a ball, and makes friends with a prince. But that is where the familiar story ends. Instead of waiting to be rescued, Cinderella learns that she can save herself and those around her by being true to herself and standing up for what she believes.

In her d
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Haymarket Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Cinderella Liberator, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Cinderella Liberator

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  168 ratings  ·  56 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales
I’ve been thinking about fairy tales a lot recently. Specifically feminist fairy tales. They aren’t a particularly new concept but in recent years there’s been a distinct increase in their numbers. At their best they can provide an innovative, sly commentary on everything that’s wrong with the Disney model. At their worst, they can be preachy, didactic, and not very much fun. The fun is important because that’s pretty much the only reason kids like fairy tales in the first place. What child want ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 stars. This is an odd little book that defies any number of easy categories. It's a picture book, but the pictures are recycled Arthur Rackham silhouettes from a much earlier, less liberated Cinderella, and the proportion of text to image is rather high. It's a fairy tale retelling, but an openly political one that is more concerned about its messaging than engaging with any mythopoeic canon. I don't know that it would have gotten published at all without Rebecca Solnit's existing name recog ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Oh my god this book is perfect! First off, it has the classic Arthur Rackham illustrations, which are perfect and beautiful, and the only recognizably classic thing about this book. There's no blaming of the stepsisters, who were raised to think and behave as they do, and they get a happy ending, being productive and happy. The Prince and Cinderella become friends (as neither has has a true friend before) but they don't get married, because they're far too young for that, and they don't grow up ...more
Tonstant Weader
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cinderella Liberator reimagines the classic story with a feminist and egalitarian twist. Cinderella still is forced to work while her stepsisters laze about adorning themselves. Her stepmother is still evil and a fairy godmother intervenes. The bones of the story remain the same.

But Solnit adds a fresh perspective, not just liberating Cinderella, but nearly everyone from the strictures of custom and the false narrative of scarcity.

Cinderella Liberator is excellent proof that a feminist and egali
A modern retelling to Cinderella which is so amazing. The book didn't start off well , with the writing being repetitive and minor changes. But after the ball and prince finds our ella , the retelling begins. I loved this retelling and has almost all features to be expected in our day to day lives.
A perfect retelling to buy for kids.
Adrian Brown
Rebecca Solnit, my literary queen, crafts an uplifting version of a childrens story that's always irked me. This is the best version I've found. I can't wait to buy this for every young person in my life (girls and boys and all those inbetween)! I can't wait to snuggle up next to my faraway "nieces" next time I visit and read this to them as they fight sleep and then drift off to a more liberated dreamland. I can't wait to read anything else that Ms. Solnit writes, whether for children or adults ...more
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Wildly disapointed. I think I've read so many excellent retellings that this one left me feeling cold and cranky. Of course it's a good idea, but an actual child friendly retelling with the message would have more traction. For all the good intentions here most of the charm comes from the rackham illustrations.

Go read some of Ursula Vernon's retellings. Whiskerella or The Dryad's Shoe.
May 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This one is a Dewey Classification conundrum...even the LOC says "fairy tales", "feminist fiction", and [E]...I say "E" for everyone!

Like no other telling of Cinderella you have ever heard and/or read, this one is a message for everyone! Solnit's message is told towards the end in one sentence, "Besides, there is no happily ever after, only this bedtime story, and nighttime, and then tomorrow morning, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the spring coming after the winter, and the
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Formatted like a picture book but with much more text. Fun enough for a read-aloud to younger kids (with a fairy godmother, mice, lizards and pies) and substance enough for older kids / adults to enjoy too.
Referring to the stepsisters - “they weren’t very happy because they were worried that someone might have higher hair or more bows that they did. Which, probably, someone did. Usually someone does.” And this passage that follows is such a good message. “But there isn’t actually a most beautif
Ryan Mishap
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fun and inclusive retelling for the kiddos and adults who wished they had this kind of stuff when young. A smart, fun, and slyly political tale.

I wish they had used new art and made it more like a graphic novel, but re-using the original art has a purpose.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read. Nicely maneuvered changes to the story to make it more appropriate and affirming for kids.
I’m looking forward to reading this to my 7 year old who has recently discovered a liking for fairy tales.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The writer often described as the "voice of the resistance" rewrites the fairy tale Cinderella to reflect more modern and progressive values such as feminism and marriage rights. Using classic illustrations by Arthur Rackham, this update feels familiar and satisfying while losing some of its problematic elements to contemporary readers.

[I received an advanced e-galley through Edelweiss. It is due to be published May 7, 2019.]
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
High points:
-The presence of people of different genders in various roles was so simply done. Why NOT have a lady sea captain? Coachwoman? Apple farmer?
-I love that the fairy godmother asks the creatures whether they want to go back to their old lives or stay in their new forms, and doesn't impose anyone else's will upon them. Each one gets a choice to consent or not.
-Ella's "happy ending", and the progression/redemption of the prince and the stepsisters, were lovely. They all get to do what mak
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was first drawn to Cinderella Liberator because of the author, Rebecca Solnit. I have found her other books to be very informative while also being enjoyable reads. In this case, I was not disappointed.

Like any retelling this will have pluses and minuses for each reader. Partly because fairy tales fall into that middle ground, in spite of the whitewashing and "cleaning up" that has culminated with Disney being most associated with them. They were never meant strictly for children, they were me
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elaine Fultz
The basic story is the same -- mice turn into dapple-grey horses, a pumpkin into a carriage, and Cinderella goes to the ball and leaves a glass slipper, etc. -- but modern perspectives are inserted and characters (minus the stepmother, of course) are given freedom to be their best selves, even the evil stepsisters. Cinderella, now Ella, owns a bake shop that also harbours refugees; the Prince becomes a Farmer-Prince after falling in love with working in the apple orchard; the sisters style hair ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Solnit's update of Cinderella is a pleasurable, though short read. Cinderella isn't interested in marriage she just wants to go to a dance party! The thing that set me up a bit short in the story is when Cinderella's fairy godmother shows up and tells her she's been ready to aid Cinderella for ages but she had to be asked. Which kind of gives a message that if you are treated like a slave/servant/dirt, in order to be liberated from your drudgery you have to ask for help, it's not something you d ...more
Michelle Adamo
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"I realized that this story was about transformation, not just getting your prince” explains Rebecca Solnit of her new children’s picture book, Cinderella Liberator. “It seemed to me that the solution to overwork and degrading work is not the leisure of a princess, passing the work onto others, but good, meaningful work - with dignity and self-determination."
This book begins, like most Cinderella stories do, with an unloving step-mother, self-centered step-sisters, a beautiful young woman force
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well-known feminist author Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me) has given us a fairy tale retelling of Cinderella for modern times. Less judge-y about Cinderella's stepsisters, giving mice and rats and lizards a choice in the matter of transformation, and realizing the poor idea of marrying a prince you barely know (look what happens in Into the Woods for instance?), this is unquestionably an all new take on Cinderella. Some little girls may be disappointed that Ella doesn't want to be a pr ...more
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, really

In some ways, I truly love this book. Halfway through, I even stopped and ordered 3 copies for some friends. I was slightly disappointed by the rest of the book, of course :)

I wouldn't buy this for kids under 10. Maybe I'm underestimating children, but it's very wordy and not very action-y, and honestly, the message is pretty heavy handed. I mean, it's a MUCH more palatable heavy hand than Stan & Jan Berenstain's, but Getting The Point Across seemed overtly intentional by t
Jan Priddy
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just what a fairy tale should do—offer an inspiring model of happily ever after. And no princesses or marriages needed to accomplish that ending! The illustrations are really charming. based on the fine, detailed the classic drawings of Arthur Rackham—I bought it for th grandchildren, but found it a pleasure to read for myself

The stepsisters were also misinformed: "Their mother had told them there was not enough for everybody and they needed to take things from other people to have enough for t
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I love fairy tale retellings -- they can be extraordinary, but Rebecca Solnit's first foray into writing for children appeal more in concept than in the actual reading. I felt it is too heavy handed and too lacking in originality to work for all but the smallest children. This close rework of the Cinderella story is both transparently didactic and lacking in the imaginative reach into children's emotional truths that makes the original tale work so well. It may be best to introduce this 21st sav ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
The exceptional connection with the reader makes this retelling quite different to my ears, and I'm sure it will appeal to children. Explanations regarding cinders (they burn holes in clothes) and a story line that explained what happened to the mice, rat and lizards will appeal to many children. An explanation of love and beauty ("There isn't actually a most beautiful person in the world because there are so many kinds of beauty") reassures readers of all ages, even those who already know it.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
In which I am deeply amused -- just the right touches for me, in this modern retelling --they pronoun townsfolk and the rat coachwoman and the mice deciding whether they will stay horses, and all the spoiled and wealthy folk embracing an active lifestyle and satisfying work. Most of all, I like the theme of abundance -- that there is enough for everyone if it is shared properly, and agency -- that things can change if you ask for help or make decisions for yourself. There will be people who disl ...more
Andrea Lorenz
I picked this up expecting a feminist screed or a didactic retelling and was pleased to find it was neither. Cinderella Liberator is a great retelling of Cinderella - one for modern sensibilities. Cinderella and the prince don't get married - they become friends. They learn about hard work and sharing and how things can be different. It isn't radical. (Maybe it is to some people, I guess.) I would happily read this to my niece when she gets big enough to want princess stories.

Thanks to Haymarket
May 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I wish this book had pushed the story even a bit further. It starts out setting the story up to be a good "retelling" - gets a bit too familiar in the middle - and the end (after the show return) is where it takes off. There are some great moments. I would have given it 3.5 stars. I will enjoy reading it to my kids, because it has the charm of a classically written fairy tale and written with a good purpose and good message.
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Much more lightly retold than the title implies, and that turned out to be a good thing. This is a strangely gentle take, one that, in the end, makes all of the characters more human, including the stepsisters. There are a few confusing bits thrown in there (why couldn't Cinderella still have been orphaned?) and I doubt this will be as well-loved by most as more traditional versions, but it made for a lovely adaptation.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Takes the Cinderella story just a little bit father. It has a happy ending - but not one where she marries the prince.
The evil step-sisters get a job as does the step mother.
There is the basic Cinderella story that will be familiar to many, but then it goes one step farther and "liberates" Cinderella.
Would make a good writing mentor text as well as a good read aloud - prompting much discussion.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
The familiar fairy tale is given a fresh twist or two by Solnit. I found that this new version filled in some blanks and read between the lines in a way that will encourage modern readers to embrace the story without compromising their girl power. The ARC I read did not include the Arthur Rankin illustrations which was quite a disappointment.

Thank you to Haymarket Books and Edelweiss for a digital ARC of this new release.
Amit Verma
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This graphic novel reimagines and introduces mutations into old famous folktale of Cinderella.
Story for children is nice but as an adult I could not enjoy it.
It is simple and repetitive like children fables.
Artwork is great and highlight of the book.
There is moral message and also fresh thinking about how one should co-operate with others.
Everybody should be like fairy mother who helps other people especially who are sad.
Overall nice children's book.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Rebecca Solnit is an American author who often writes on the environment, politics, place, and art. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications in print and online, including the Guardian newspaper and Harper's Magazine, where she is the first woman to regularly write the Easy Chair column founded in 1851. She is also a regular contributor to the political blog TomDispatch and to LitHub.

“The blue fairy godmother opened the door, and asked her if she'd had a good time, and she said Yes, and No, and It was very interesting to see all the fancy clothes and the fancy plates with fancy cakes and the fancy mirrors and the fancy lights. And then she said, It was even more interesting to see lizards become footwomen and mice become horses.” 0 likes
More quotes…