Donkey-Skin by Charles Perrault is a Cinderella meets Goose Girl fairy tale. I know little to really nothing (other than what I read in this version and a bit in the publisher description) of the story therefore, I am not sure if it is pre-these fairy tales or after those others. But it has that same French/European feel of an old school, classic, not-Disney tale. While things are not “in face” they are no questions what is happening. And not all of it is very “politically correct” (not feminist, not sensitive to mental illness and has “love at first pervy look through the keyhole).
I am not sure of the moral of the story, but it is an interesting one. The clichés of “love at first sight at a beautiful woman” and “only one person could fit the ring” are used. Also, the “ugly girl in the donkey-hide could not be the truelove of a prince is front and center. The beginning, however, did add some interesting differences. The vanity of the Queen thinking the King would never remarry after her death (that is usually saved for the second spouse/wife), the madness that comes from it and the King thinking the Princess (his daughter) was his old Queen, so he wishes to marry her makes it seem it will go a different route. But of course, the traditional “happy ever after” does come in the stereotypical manner.
But there are no questions that there will be a fairytale atmosphere as the first few sentences sounded as stereotypical of a beginning to a fairytale as could be. The “once upon a time lived a good and wise king …” tone stays throughout the short, but entire book. Perhaps the holes I feel are in this story come from the translation or perhaps it is an abridged version, but I am now not sure I want to learn more or go onto a retelling I was considering reading for the book club.
The illustrations are almost nonexistent, but what is there fits the tone of the story. Classically old school Fairy Tale, with an almost dreamy, surreal quality. The tone of the colors can be brassy at times, sometimes hard to make out details because of this and the sketch-likeness of the actual images. I was unable to locate the illustrator for my copy (from CreateSpace). They are nice, but nothing that captured me, much like the text itself. However, I am wondering if another edition would grab me more.