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Cinderella Liberator

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,317 ratings  ·  237 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
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  1,317 ratings  ·  237 reviews

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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
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Overall: Meh. Cute fairytale but nothing super special about this.

The Good: Absolutely love the illustrations. Also like that Cinderella wants to open a cake shop.

The Bad: This story is nothing special. It is supposed to be a retelling of Cinderella and portray Cinderella as much stronger and liberated. It really doesn't do much and there are many other fairy tales, Disney stories too, that portray strong female leads with their own minds. This is just a simple retelling with a few differences
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
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Best freakin' Cinderella ever.
One of my favourite parts was the description of the people twirling in dresses and the people in satin suits. Not women twirling in dresses, not men in satin suits. People. Such a small change but a world of difference. :)
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
Cinderella is not a sisterhood friendly story. After all, the title character is in direct competition with her sisters (step or blood) to marry a man. It’s really not a sisterhood story. It might be a mother or daughter because both groups of girls are helped either by a mother or mother figure. Solnit’s retelling corrects this.
The marriage of a more modern Cinderella with the older illustrations by Rackham is strange but it does actually work. The language is wonderful, and the book should b
John of Canada
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, favourite-artist
This was a fun little story.I got this mostly to see the silhouettes of Arthur Rackham,my favourite illustrator.
Sara Dahabović
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks
Recently there has been a move where authors rewrite old bedtime stories and they change the events to make the whole story more feminist .. I really like that, but I felt this one took it a bit too far. For example, why would the prince and Cinderella end up being friends? I don't see anything wrong with Cinderella falling in love with the prince. I am a feminist but I honestly don't like when feminists say they don't want to be in any relationships, because it doesn't make sense... nobody want ...more
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
All girls need allies to transform into the women they imagine becoming. Not heroes, recusers, but assistants and guides.

The art used is mostly of Arthur Rackham with small changes to allow the silhouettes to indicate ethnicity vagueness/inclusivity.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enlightened. Buy this for all the little girls in your life.
Elizabeth A
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids-ya, 2019
Retellings are not really my thing, so maybe it's just me. This is an odd book. While I did like the updated "woke" message of this story, it was a tad too heavy handed. I found the art more interesting than the actual text. It only takes about 30 minutes to read, so maybe it would make a good book to read aloud to a young girl. Pick up a library copy and let me know. ...more
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
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A brilliantly rendered retelling of Cinderella in which Solnit accurately portrays the wicked stepmother as one who believed there wasn’t enough for everyone and she wanted her own two daughters to have more. In the afterword Solnit writes, “. . . The prince also seems to need liberation. In the end, even the stepsisters needed to be set free, and if the stepmother was irredeemable, it’s because she’s all of us: insatiable craving and its underbelly, selfishness incarnate. She’s who we all are w ...more
Rachel Jorgensen
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I may be in the minority in that I don’t hate Cinderella. Do I think it’s dated? Yes, but it was written in the 1600s and the popular Disney movie was made in 1950. Some things won’t feel fresh. At it’s core the story is a fairy tale with magic and fantasy for children. And a great opportunity to talk to kids about some ways we can be better. Stories like this one are great ways to introduce a modern twist and even start that message. Will I read this to my children, yes.
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful retelling. It is about empowerment, not the in-your-face kind, but for respect and acceptance of choices made and about kindness and sharing and excess not only for the humans in this tale but also for the transformed small animals that helped to get their friend, Cinderella, to the ball 🐭✨
(Teen fiction)
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
May this version replace the classical one under the Christmas tree for every little boys and girls!
Amélie Dupuy-Seltmann
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cleary a must read ! You do not always have to be more than friends. Thanks Rebecca Solnit for adding on to all alternative and inspiring stories.
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.
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.
The Artisan Geek
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Just finished it! I thought this was a great updated version of the story of Cinderella. I'll be reviewing this more extensively in a video together with Whose Story Is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters for the Our Shared Shelf book club :)

I'm reading this for the Our Shared Shelf book club! :D

You can find me on
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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
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended by "Our Shared Shelf", Nov. 2019.

I always enjoy a nice rewriting of a classic fairy tale, and this one does the job very well. The only pity is that it is aimed at very young children, so it's way too short and felt to me like a mere outline of what could be a fully fleshed out middle-grade/YA novel (but at least it brings me one easy step closer to my challenge goal as the end of the year draws near ^^). - That is NOT a criticism, it just speaks to how delightful I found it!
For suc
Christine (Tina)
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
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Typically I don't review the picture books I read, but this one deserves a couple of comments.

When I finished reading this retelling, I wondered what it would have been like to have encountered this version of the story when I was younger. What if this was the version of Cinderella I knew first? (Before Disney, before Grimm, and even before some of the other feminist versions I've read over the years).

In this version, Cinderella notices and questions, she accepts but then learns to challenge; s
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ft-cinderella

This is a kind version of Cinderella, pointing out how the step-sisters were just as abused as Cinderella, just in a different way. It also digs deep into the many ways to be, to self actualize, the importance of your mindset when you approach any task, how to ask for help and give help, and overall, the importance of being kind.

Its also a very gentle book, with everything moving at an easy pace and with the stakes never more than manageably high. The narrator wants to assure young people of no
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually include illustrated children's stories here on Goodreads (for heaven's sake, with three little boys in the house who are voracious story-listeners, we read 10 books almost every day!), but I so enjoyed this one. It educated and enlightened me more than most adult novels do, so I think it deserves to be listed on my "recently read" shelf.
I think what moves me most about this version in the compassionate view of all the characters and how they're allowed to transform into their tr
This is a retelling for the 21st century. We learn the true name of the heroine is Ella, and everyone is capable of choosing their own future, as long as they ask for a little help when they need it.

Solnit has kept all of the traditions of the fairytale nearly completely intact, making only small & useful alternations with a very light hand, so that it doesn't feel the least polemical. In my opinion, Solnit can be in charge of recasting all of our childhood fables.
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.
Jessie Drew
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.
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Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering  and walking, hope and disaster, including Call Them By Their True Names (Winner of the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction), Cinderella LiberatorMen Explain Things to Me, The Mother of All Questions, and Hope in ...more

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