ella enchanted by gail carson levine


Ella Enchanted is a spin-off on the classic tale of Cinderella. It’s also a spin-off that won a Newberry Honor award. Not too bad, eh?

In this retelling, Ella is gifted with obedience by a well-meaning but completely clueless fairy. The “gift” is more like a curse because Ella must obey any direct order, even if it means hurting herself or others. Ella has spunk and tries to fight the curse, but she’s powerless to stop it. Her only recourse is to find the clueless fairy and hope that she’ll remove the spell.

Theology: Leave the gifting to God

OK, so that’s a stretch. There’s no mention of God in this book. It’s just a fun fairy tale romp. It does show that even well meaning gifts can become curses if the person who is doing the giving doesn’t stop to think how their gift will be received. (A children’s version of When Helping Hurts? by Corbett & Fikkert?)

Ella is a great character who puts the needs of the man she loves and her country above the desires of her heart.

Rating: G

The book is clean and fun without the crass humor and vast amounts of skin portrayed by the movie version.

Social Issues:

Blind obedience? Absentee fathers, nasty step-sisters, bullying. It’s the classic story. I don’t have to tell you what’s in it. 🙂

I would certainly read more books by this author (and probably will–I’m a sucker for fairy tales).

Have you read it? What did you think?


9 thoughts on “ella enchanted by gail carson levine

  1. I usually enjoy Levine’s work a lot. This was the first of her books I read and I loved it. I would only caution you about one of her books. Her book “Ever” had some elements that disturbed me, but in general I have found her books to be interesting and thought provoking. :).


  2. I really enjoyed Ella Enchanted, especially how she finally broke the curse. (Much better than the cliche way the movie did it.) I also really liked her voice in the story – her personality come through. I also liked that it really followed the original version well, just with “extra”.

    The only other Levine I have read is “The Fairy’s Return & Other Princess Tales” which is a collection of six retellings of classic fairy tales. I enjoyed the book, though I liked certain stories more than others. Her style strongly reminds me of Diana Wynne Jones, whom I love.


      1. I love Diana Wynne Jones! She was one of my favorite authors growing up. I definitely recommend picking up another of her books. 🙂 Her Chrestomancy series is easy to pick up anywhere. Howl’s Moving Castle is great too. 🙂


          1. Each book has a new main character and story-line but is set in the same world and Howl & Sophie are side characters in them. So not a series in the strict sense of the word but still connected to each other loosely.


      2. I’ve read all three of the “Howl” books. I really enjoyed the first two but didn’t like “House of Many Ways” very much. It was okay but not nearly as enjoyable as the first two. (I love the Studio Ghibli movie, btw, but they changed EVERYTHING so I have to view as pretty much a different story.) I also read the entire Chrestomanci series. Loved the series as a whole, though, of course, certain books are better than others. Haven’t read any of her other work – yet. 🙂


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