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Ella Enchanted is HELLA ENCHANTING

There are so many fantastic middle grade books, but since I spent the majority of my important 11th and 12th years of life working for my parents so I could order 1980s Days of Our Lives tapes off the internet, I missed some really good ones. One was The Witch of Blackbird Pond, which I LOVE and am mad at myself for not reading as a child. Another is Ella Enchanted.

Ella Enchanted is basically what Cinderella would be if it weren't (when you really look at it) kind of dumb. What do we know about Cinderella's personality? ALMOST NOTHING. What do we know about her relationship with the prince? Oh, um...they meet at a ball and then he decides to marry her. After like a day. Then they get married The End. There's also something in the original about the wicked stepsisters having their eyes pecked out by birds, but life was Rough in the old days, man. Sometimes people's eyes got pecked out.

Ella fleshes out all the characters. Hattie the Stepsister sucks. Oh, how she sucks. I haven't felt that level of frustration since Umbridge. She TOOK. Ella's MOTHER'S. NECKLACE. It was her mother's. You know what, Hattie? Maybe you SHOULD'VE been attacked by birds. That being said, this line was hilarious:

"But I still hope Ella has come to no harm and has not been eaten by ogres or captured by bandits or caught fire or fallen into bad company, as I often imagine."
I basically want to marry Gail Carson Levine. The book reminds me of Shannon Hale's excellent The Goose Girl to the point that I'm pretty sure Shannon Hale just ripped off Ella Enchanted. Both girls are the same kind of resourceful, plucky heroines and both are excellent with languages, which TBH was one of my favorite parts of both of them, only Levine makes up several languages and pronouncing them is the most fun of all the fun things.

"Thank you" in her languages:

Gnomic: .pwich usoch wajezZ
Elfian: Cadsu.
Ayorthaian: Abensa egralve uffubensu.
Ogrese: Forns mnar psySSahbuSS.

 What a clever, interesting writer. I would much rather have children read Ella Enchanted than see Cinderella. Except 'Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo' is really fun. But this is honestly one of the best fairytale updates I've read. Goodness knows what else I've missed thanks to late '90s soap operas. We should all compare notes.

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