CataclysmicKnight » 24 Jun 2017, 11:20
[Following is an official Online Book Club review of "Ella The Enchanted Princess" by Rosaria L. Calafati.]
4 out of 4 stars
Review by CataclysmicKnight
Ella is a young princess who loves it when Nanny reads books to her. She even dresses up like a character from whatever story Nanny reads that day! Her room is filled with all sorts of toys and clothes and she has a magical mirror named Molly Mirror that always tells her the truth. Unfortunately, Ella is trapped in her room, not by some horrible curse or an evil parent that locked her in, but by her own lack of confidence. Ella is a princess without hair, and to go anywhere else in the castle or even outside requires going through the grand hall, a hall guarded by all sorts of magical mirrors. She worries that if she goes out there, the mirrors will tell her she's ugly and not allow her to go anywhere but back to her room.
"Only if I wasn't so afraid of the mirrors," she thought. "I would be able to go outside and explore the Enchanted Forest."
This is the story told in Who Are You?: Ella the Enchanted Princess by Rosaria L. Calafati. Ella desperately wants to explore the castle, especially the room where Nanny says she gets all the books she reads to her. She also dreams of adventures of her own out in the Enchanted Forest! But to go anywhere requires the mirrors seeing her and allowing her through, and they don't recognize her when she puts on her costumes that cover her bald head. It tugged on my heartstrings to see this sweet, playful girl so tortured by her feeling ugly.
I really liked that the book made multiple points, not just the primary one of a princess whose lack of hair made her feel ugly. The book also shows the fun of dressing up, reading, imagination and having adventures. Ella's dress up fun is something any kid (or adult!) can do, and encouraging reading is always a good thing. The book ends by setting itself up for a sequel in the Enchanted Forest, which would allow for more focus on playing outside and adventure along with whatever new things Ella finds.
Despite a gorgeous, colorful cover, I was rather concerned when I saw Rosaria listed as both the author and illustrator. When one person does both jobs one is almost guaranteed to suffer for it. This was surprisingly not the case though! The writing is great, sure, but the full-page illustrations are also vibrant, colorful and cute. Ella's frequent dressing up led to lots of fun outfits and kept things interesting, and the cover is a perfect representation of what the pages inside present.
Who Are You?: Ella the Enchanted Princess is a near-perfect children's picture book and one I highly recommend. I found only one error, the use of "passed" instead of "past". As such, it's easy for me to rate the book 4 out of 4 stars, and I'm looking forward to finding out what adventures Princess Ella will go on in the future!