Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This month I read a mid-grade novel that was made into a movie. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is a fantastical story based on the Cinderella story. The book garnered a nomination for the Newbery Award in 1998. It didn’t win, but I bet it was a close second. The story is clever and witty and digs deep into the classic Cinderella story, answering the question: why did Cinderella obey her step-mother and step-sisters.

The day Ella was born, a fairy named Lucinda gave her the gift of obedience. Lucinda did not intend for the gift to be a curse, but it was. Ella had no choice but to obey any command given to her. “Stop crying.” “Go to bed.” “Hop on one foot.”

After Ella’s mother dies, her father sends her to finishing school, where Ella is tormented by her future step-sisters. Ella embarks on a quest to find Lucinda and break the curse. In the end, she finds out that she had the power to break the curse all along. She just needed love, a power greater than the curse.

I recommend this book to 4th graders and fairy tale lovers of all ages.

List of Recommended Books by Grade:
Picture books
Alphabet Puke—Monsters’ Medicine A-Z by Quinn Cole

2nd grade –
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Miss Holly Is Too Jolly, by Dan Gutman
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
Time Warp Trio #1: Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka
Time Warp Trio #2: The Not-So-Jolly Roger by Jon Scieszka

3rd grade –
Who Is J.K. Rowling? By Pam Pollack and Meg Belviso
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Among the Impostors by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater

4th grade –
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
The Book of Think (Or How to Solve a Problem Twice Your Size) by Marilyn Burns
Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
Louisiana's Song by Kerry Madden
The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
The Golly Whopper Games by Jody Feldman

5th grade –
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Benjamin Pratt & The Keeper of the School by Andrew Clements
Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

6th grade –
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
Dewey, by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

7th grade and up –
Holes by Louis Sachar
The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byers
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Pendragon Book One: The Merchant of Death by D.J. MacHale
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Seventeen Second Miracle, by Jason F. Wright