CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 36. . . .May 22, 2015
Cinderella: The Terrible Truth. (Race Ahead with Reading).
Laura North. Illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2015.
32 pp., pbk., hc., pdf & html, $10.95 (pbk.), $21.56 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-1327-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-1326-5 (RLB.), ISBN 978-1-4271-7776-6 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4271-7764-3 (html).
Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.
Review by Barb Janicek.
Have you heard the story about Cinderella – the one where she wears rags and the Fairy Godmother turns her into a pretty princess? Well, it’s all a big cover-up.
That story hides the terrible truth.
Can you keep a secret?
Most readers will know the classic story of Cinderella. They are also likely to be familiar with Little Red Riding Hood. So, when this story takes a twist and the potion Cinderella’s stepsisters trick her into drinking turns her into a werewolf, the reader catches on before the Prince does because he utters familiar words in a familiar pattern. First, he comments on her big, beautiful eyes. And then her large ears. And then her teeth!
It is at this point that Cinderella, who has already hastily married the prince – turning the ball into a wedding – starts to realize that something is up. When she looks down at her feet and sees paws, she turns to her sisters and sees red.
In the end, readers meet up with Cinderella locked up in a cage. Readers are meant to think that she’s a prisoner, but the Prince explains that, once a month, she HAS to be locked up, because “we don’t want you to eat any more of our relatives.” It turns out that, once the shock had worn off, they remained married and started a happy family. Minus two evil stepsisters.
This “Race Ahead With Reading” beginner reader is divided into five chapters. While a reading level is not indicated, it would be at the higher end of easy readers – many words per page and little repetition. It is a simple story that would keep most readers entertained and engaged. Occasionally breaking the fourth wall by asking “Can you keep a secret?” at the start, and “Don’t tell anyone else…” at the end, the story draws children in. It has more humour than the average leveled easy reader does, enhanced by comical and comic-like illustrations that help to dispel any gory details.
Children hoping for a Cinderella story like the one out in theatres this year may not find what they are looking for, but this version has lasting appeal because of the fairy tale twist and the inclusion of werewolves. And, of course, the happily ever after ending.
Barb Janicek is a Children’s Librarian with Kitchener Public Library, in Kitchener, ON.
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