Ella Enchanted
by Gail Levine
book talk

author study

classroom connections

list of related books

web activity


Published By:  HarperCollins Children's Books
New York, 1997

The Newbery Honor

Web Page Information Compiled By:  Molly Hauck, Sabrina Sins, Lauren Jones, Karolyn Schulte, Julie Smith

Book talk

   Ella Enchanted is a wonderful modern fantasy novel about a young girl who has been cursed since birth. The curse says that Ella must obey people when they tell her to do something.  When  Ella is fifteen years old her mother dies, but before she does she tells Ella she can not tell anyone about the spell for fear that they may use it against her.  Following the command of the curse and her mother Ella's life becomes very frustrating.  She has to do whatever people tell her to do and even though she can't tell them, some of the wrong people seem to figure it out.  They end up using it against her and Ella's life becomes miserable.  She decides that she must try to find Lucinda (the fairy that cast the spell on her) and beg her to break the spell.  She does not succeed.  The worst part about the spell is that it causes her to keep it a secret from the prince whom she loves and shares everything with.  The prince has to go off to do his duties as a prince and he writes to Ella often. One day Ella gets a letter from the prince telling her that he would like her hand in marriage.  Although Ella would love to marry him she is afraid that it could end up hurting him and the city because of the spell.  So against her own feelings and her heart she pretends to have married and moved away.  When the king holds a ball to find the prince a bride Ella decides she must go in disguise.  When the prince finds out the the "mystery women" is Ella he commands to know what is going on.  As Ella begins to obey his command she realizes that she has broken the curse.  She marries the prince and they live happily ever after.

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Author study

Gail Levine:
    Gail Carson Levine grew up in New York City.  In high school she had poems published in an anthology of student poetry.  On her path to becoming a children's book author, she was a philosophy major, an aspiring actress, a painter and a welfare worker.  It was through her painting that she began writing for children.  She wrote and illustrated an art appreciation book.  Although it was never published, she discovered her love for writing children's books.  Ella Enchanted was her first children's book published and it received the Newbery Honor in 1998.  She began writing the book in a writing class, but she could not think of a good plot.  She finally decided to write a Cinderella story because it already had a plot.  Levine has written two fractured fairy tale easy chapter books.  They are The Fairy's Mistake and The Princess Test.  These two books will be out in the spring and a fall release is planned for a historical novel that has yet to be titled.

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Classroom connections

These ideas are general and would have to be refined to suit the grade level and the particular students:

Art --

  • Create a mask like the ones worn at the ball.
  • Paint a fantasy-like character ( ex. ogre, giant,or fairy).
Writing --
  • Write a short essay comparing and constrasting Ella Enchanted to Cinderella.
  • Write a short story about a child being given a special "gift" at birth and the problems it causes.
  • Using Ella Enchanted as an example of alliteration, create a alliteration alphabet.
  • Write your own original fairy tale.  Include fantasy-like elements.
  • Pretend you are Ella, and write a letter to Father or Char.

Discussion --

  • Discuss how marriages are arranged in Frell.
  • Discuss how Ella's strength of learning languages helps her throughout the story.
  • Discuss the similarities and differences between Ella Enchanted and Cinderella.

Creative Dramatics --

  • Act out a scene from Ella Enchanted assigning students certain characters.  Have each student get to know the character they are portraying to successfully act out their part.

Social Studies --

  • Trace the history of a fairy tale.
  • Read different fairy tales from around the world.  Identify things that reflect the culture of that country.
  • Draw a map tracing Ella's journey.
  • Study the Medieval era.
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List of related books
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Web activity:
1. Type in the web address www.lycos.com

2. CLick on the Search icon at the top of the screen.

3. Scroll down the page until you get to Web Results.

4. Click on #3 Kids Rule-Writing: Folk and Fairy Tales.

5. Click on Writer Playground at the top of the page.

6. Have students fill out the blank spaces available, using their imagination skills.

7. Then, click on Write Story and view what their imagination story comes out to be.

8. By clicking on the print icon at the top of the screen, each story could be hung around the room.

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Related Websites
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