Dear Cinderella by Marian Moore & Mary Jane Kensington illustrated by Julie Olson

I have been waiting for this book to hit the shelves since last summer when I heard about it at the WIFYR writer’s conference in Utah. Julie Olson, the illustrator, came and spoke to the students in the picture book class I was taking from Kristyn Crow, and gave us a sneak peak at some of the illustrations.  She has a great blog with tons of tips on honing your artistic skills.

Ok, sometimes I wonder why I wasn’t born in the princesss era. Back in my day I was obsessed with Little House on the Prairie and prairie dresses. The whole  princess thing would have been right up my alley, though. So, maybe it was lucky after all (for my parents and siblings, who would have had to tolerate me and my frills). Many of the clothes I grew up wearing were hand-me-downs from neighbors, remakes of old polyester outfits, or on sale at the thrift store. The closest thing I had to a princess dress at home was a prairie dress that came from a neighbor down the street whose daughter had outgrown it. So, I probably would have had hand-me-down princess dresses too. Which really wouldn’t have bugged me, because that’s all I knew. There’s nothing wrong with thrift and economy right? Especially when you come from a large family. I have to say though, I’m not sure how you could have made a very fancy princess dress out of blue polyester pants.

Back to the topic at hand, my review… in Dear Cinderella, Snow White and Cinderella write to each other (actual real letters, not emails) as pen pals in this adorable picture book. It’s fun to get a first-person perspective to the fairytales that we hear mostly in third-person retellings. Olson’s watercolor illustrations are lovely and the story is charming. It reminds me of endless letter-writing sessions in high school and college, trying to keep track of friends who had moved. It’s nostalgic for us grown-ups because of the letters, and perfect for little princesses. It could also be used for a letter writing unit in school by resourceful teachers. The almost-lost-art of letter writing has found new life in this beautiful picture book fairytale.

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