Sootypaws: A Cinderella Story

Holt/Godwin Bks. Jan. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250186041.
PreS-Gr 3–“There was once a mouse, and her life was no fun.” So begins this Cinderella tale of a mouse who only wishes that someone would love her. The familiar story is told through intricately detailed and richly textured dioramas created and photographed by Rudy. Using wool felt and found materials, the artist creates a world for her characters that is ripe for visual exploration and detail hunting. Nicknamed Sootypaws by her cruel rat stepmother and stepsisters, the heroine’s defining feature is her kindness. Her kindness creates the opportunity for the first major deviation from the traditional tale: there is no fairy godmother. Instead, a full moon possesses the magic to grant wishes. When Sootypaws wishes to go to the ball, all of the animals, plants, and insects that she has helped give her gifts that, when enchanted by the moon, turn into the items she needs to be ball ready. And once at the ball, Sootypaws truly does stand out from the crowd in her rose petal dress gilded with spiderweb lace, and her bluebird feather fan. The visual appeal of the book is accompanied by text that is full of gentle humor. A surprising twist on the traditional ending sends a message that love, friendship, and freedom are what you need to be happy, and sometimes shoes are just too restrictive.
VERDICT Recommend this refreshing adaptation to fans of fairy tales and those who appreciate picture hunts and visual artistry.

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