POP Wonderland Series: Cinderella Picture Book (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Sakura Eries
Review Date: Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Release Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The classic tale by Hans Christian Andersen! 

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Michiyo Hayano and POP

What They Say
As Cinderella, a young girl struggling to stay happy in the home of her wicked stepmother, sets out on a journey unlike any other, she will meet magical fairy godmothers, kindly mice, and a handsome prince who will literally sweep her off her feet.

The Review!

This is the second POP WONDERLAND title I've reviewed, and like the first (Little Red Riding Hood), Dark Horse has done a terrific job producing this hardcover book. The cover and paper are of excellent quality, and the color print captures all the little nuances from the glitter of the fairy godmother's magic to the stars in the night sky. All in all, if you liked POP WONDERLAND's Little Red Riding Hood, you'll like Cinderella.
Though originally produced as part of a children's book series in Japan, the artwork overall does not scream manga. Cinderella has an oversized head and eyes and is drawn sans nose like many manga child designs (she bears quite a resemblance to Little Red), and the wide-eyed fairy godmother and prince are reminiscent of characters you’d find in a shoujo title. However, the other character designs and the backgrounds are comparable to what you might find in an American work.
For those new to POP WONDERLAND, the cover gives a pretty good idea of what's inside. It features Cinderella, resplendent in her ball gown with the prince's castle in the background. The much simpler back cover depicts her pumpkin coach and horses with a short blurb beneath.
It's a storybook, not manga, so there are no dialogue bubbles, only text placed alongside the illustrations. Aside from a couple misplaced commas, the translation is fine.
The POP WONDERLAND series is geared towards kids, and like its Little Red Riding Hood predecessor, Cinderella sticks to the classic tale. While some versions of Cinderella contain darker aspects (i.e. the wicked stepsisters getting their eyes pecked out by birds), this story, based off the Hans Christian Andersen version, steers clear of those elements. The text and illustrations stay firmly in the domain of cheerful and cute and can be enjoyed by the entire family.
The book does make an interesting stylistic choice regarding Cinderella. While the stepsisters look like young ladies in their late teens or early twenties, Cinderella is depicted as much younger. She can't be more than twelve the way she's drawn, and the text refers to her as "little girl" twice. Perhaps this is the illustrator's effort to make Cinderella more relatable to the children who will be reading the book. At any rate, the prince also looks extremely young (twelve to fourteen years old) so the sight of him and Cinderella as groom and bride isn't too jarring.
Other than that, there are no surprises. The setting and clothes resemble those of 18th century Europe, and there are no talking animals. The fairy godmother, whose dress is a cross between a nun's habit and a court jester's outfit, is the most youthful one I've seen though. With her wide eyes, she looks younger than the stepsisters.
In summary:
This book contains the youngest looking Cinderella I've seen, but it's a beautifully illustrated rendition of the classic Andersen tale that can be enjoyed by all ages. 

Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Dark Horse
MSRP: 16.95
Pages: 32
ISBN: 9781595822697
Size: A5
Orientation: Left to Right
Series: Little Red Riding Hood: The POP Wonderland Series