Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella

illus. by Jan Brett. 32p. Putnam. 2013. RTE $17.99. ISBN 9780399257834. LC 2012048973.
K-Gr 2—As Tasha feeds oats to her chickens in the old tower, a blizzard rages outside. As usual, her beloved Cinders is pushed and bossed around by the old biddy, Largessa, and her daughters, Pecky and Bossy. The blizzard piles snow against the door and Tasha must curl up in front of the warm stove to wait out the night. As she sleeps, another world unfolds in the tower, beginning the familiar tale of a ball, a prince, a fairy godmother, and a slipper. While the tale is well known, the players most certainly are not. In this wintery, St. Petersburg-inspired venue, wet feathers and frayed wing tips replace a ragged dress and an ash-covered face, a beautiful silkie hen stands in for a dear fairy godmother, and the prize of the ball is Prince Cockerel. All ends well for Cinders, of course, and readers get the happy ending that is expected, but Brett's fans know that it's the illustrations that bring magic to the story. A stunning starry sky bathed in moonlight is the backdrop for each panel, from the warm, cozy coop to the dazzling landscape surrounding the prince's ice palace. Inside, readers will find a dramatic gatefold rendering of the dance floor, with hens and cockerels bedecked in their finest attire. What could be mistaken for a comical interpretation of the classic tale is instead a charming transformation with Brett's majestic stylings and a bit of whimsy.—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH

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