Growing up, one of my absolute favorite pictures books was Hilary Knight’s Cinderella.
Just looking at this image makes my heart gasp and I’m whisked away to 1986, where I daydreamed of fairy godmothers, and ballgowns made of cobwebs and gossamer. The illustrations are just beautiful. If you’re fortunate enough to find a copy, hold on to it tight, and lock it away. That’s what my sister has done, because between the two of us, we have destroyed our paperback edition, and are afraid of what our tiny tot’s little hands will do to it. A shame too, seeing as how much they are selling for in new condition on Amazon!
While browsing through books online, I came across a Christmas book by Knight, and wondering what else this genius created, I clicked on the author’s bio page.
Hilary Knight. Is a man.
I had no idea (that he also created the Eloise series, too). My world has just been turned upside down. Since as long as I can remember, I cherished this version of Cinderella for many reasons, but high up there was because I thought it was written and illustrated by a woman. As a child who fantasized growing up to be an author (and illustrator sometimes), this was a big deal for me, to have women role models (I also loved the movie Funny Farm, because Chevy Chase’s wife unexpectedly ended up writing children’s books).
Maybe Mr. Knight being a Mister is common knowledge. Maybe it shows that I’m presumptive. Or that I’m a dreamer and only see what I want to see. Or a sexist. But truthfully, I’m devastated. I shouldn’t be. Talent is talent, regardless of gender, and I’m not going to change my opinion on the book. But I just can’t believe how shocked I am!