Ella Enchanted



Highly imaginative twists on the Cinderella tale.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A classic tale gets a magical, 21st century make-over with a heroine that stands and takes care of herself.

Positive role models

To escape the cruelty of her stepsister, Ella runs away from boarding school. This spunky heroine keeps you rooting for her until the end.


The heroine is captured by a group of people-eating ogres. Ella's mother dies and an evil stepmother takes her place.

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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that highly imaginative twists on an old tale and a fast pace will keep readers turning the page.

What's the story?

When Ella was an hour old, the fairy Lucinda "blessed" her with obedience. Whenever Ella is told to do something, she must do it, including promising never to reveal her terrible secret. After her mother dies, Ella is sent to finishing school with her nasty stepsisters, Hattie and Olive. Hattie soon discovers the curse and takes advantage of Ella. Running away, Ella finds Lucinda and begs her to lift the curse, but the fairy refuses. Ella must go home and resign herself to a life of drudgery. Her friend, Prince Charmont, is in love with her, but Ella knows she can never marry him -- her curse would put him in grave danger. When he commands her to marry him, she struggles not to obey, cries out "No"-and breaks the curse! At last the liberated Ella and her beloved prince can truly live happily ever after.

Is it any good?


ELLA ENCHANTED is a rich and imaginative retelling of the Cinderella story as a young adult novel. At last readers get a reasonable explanation for Cinderella's meek behavior. Poor Ella isn't a doormat; she is literally cursed with obedience. But she is a strong and intelligent role model -- instead of taking her misfortune sitting down, she marches off to rid herself of the troublesome curse.

Learning her worries and dreams gives readers a reason to root for her. Prince Charmant becomes more than a name as we read the letters he and Ella write to each other. A cast of fantastic and familiar fairy-tale figures includes the foolish fairy who bestows gifts nobody wants, a wise fairy godmother who refuses to use magic for anything important, and a gnome toddler with a baby beard. Author Gail Carson Levine casts a spell and manages to remake a classic tale into something completely new.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about fairy tales. Why do they have such staying power, even for modern readers?

  • How is Ella different from Cinderella?

  • What kind of lessons did you learn from the story of Cinderella? What do you learn from this reinvention of the story?

Book details

Author:Gail Carson Levine
Genre:Fairy Tale
Topics:Princesses and fairies
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 1, 1997
Number of pages:232

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byLovesgirl2 February 11, 2010

Love the book!

I love the book! It was full of page turning excitement. Caught me from the beginning. I personally think the book is better than the movie, although A.H. is a very talented actress.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 12 year old Written bylittle mommy August 18, 2009

What a fantastic book! A must-read for parents and children over the age of 10

What a wonderful book! Written again by the fame-struck Gail Carson Levine. My kids both loved it and they are 8 and 11. I think it was a little too violent for my 8 year old, but she liked it anyway! She's a toughie and was trembling at the violent parts, so I'd say this book is better for 9 or 10 year olds...
Kid, 11 years old June 14, 2009


This book is very, well, enchanting. Very magical! One of my favorite books of all time and I am eleven.


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