Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ella Enchanted

A (Cinder)ella to fall in love with

Gail Carson Levine brings us a new take on the classic fairytale Cinderella in Ella Enchanted. Ella is a funny, strong, assertive and continuously perplexed girl with a curse that has haunted her from birth. She has been commanded not to tell anyone of her curse which leaves her with little to do when she starts acting strange and has no explanation for her actions. A tale of fairies, ogres, gnomes, elves, giants and of course a handsome prince gives us the best adaptation (in my opinion) of Cinderella. It rings through with parts of the original brought to us by Grimm and Perrault with a few hints of Disney and a whole lot of Gail Carson Levine. An absolute must read for girls (and guys)!

Teachers... here are some resources and ideas to help you teach this book.

Web Resources:
  • Quizzes and Activities: This site is a unit plan set up by a teacher. It has quizzes for every 3 chapters of Ella Enchanted. It also provides activities to align with the book. Finally, there are activities that go along with another book entitled, The Castle in the Attic (Haven't read this one yet, but will let you know if I do).
  • Discussion Guide: Brought to you from Scholastic.
  • Lesson: This lesson, also from Scholastic, offers a lesson that teaches students about the elements of a fairytale and compares/contrasts different versions of Cinderella. Great worksheets are included!

Vocabulary: Here are some words that may need to be pretaught: curse, bestow, obedience, docile, candelabra, spectacle, tarry, doublet, impertinence, epithets, odious, diplomat, pantomime, enchanted, besot, solicitude, felicity, courtier, squalor, cotillion, zeal, heinous, stalwart, scullery, chicanery, queue, tedium
In addition, there are many words that we may consider to be from old English. For this reasons, any students you think may have trouble with context clues should probably read this book with a dictionary beside them. Trust me, these words do not take away from the excellence of this novel!

Before Reading: Have you ever heard the fairytale Cinderella or watched a movie that was based around the story of Cinderella? Write down what you remember from the story or movie. Include characters, plot, themes, etc.

During Reading:
  • As you read, write down parts of the novel that remind you of the fairytale of Cinderella.
  • Pretend you have the curse Ella has. What would you do to prevent the curse from affecting you? How do you think it would affect you? How would it make you feel?

After Reading:
  • Write your own version of the Cinderella fairytale.
  • Do you think there was any other way Ella could have broken the curse?

This book also has a movie (which I haven't yet checked out myself but I'll let you know when I do)!

Levine, G. C. (1997). Ella Enchanted . New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

Happy Reading (& Running) =)

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