A feminist version of “Cinderella” to suit fans of Robert Munsch’s The Paper-Bag Princess (1980).
This tale begins like the traditional one, with Cinderella slaving away for her stepmother and two stepsisters. But when the day of the prince’s annual ball arrives, she takes matters into her own hands and phones a fairy-godmother service she sees advertised. (Indeed, all of Cinderella’s expectations and dreams are based on ads and magazine articles, a subtle message that most readers will probably miss.) But the fairy godmother who arrives with her animal helpers isn’t anything like what was pictured in the ad. And the dress and slippers and turnip coach the fairy godmother conjures aren’t standard either. Dashed expectations don’t end there, however, as Cinderella discovers when she wins the dance contest (despite a severe wardrobe malfunction) and a solo dance with the prince, who is definitely better in glossy pages than in person. Cinderella’s flight is in earnest, but it quickly becomes a flight to something rather than away: the Girls Only Job Fair gives Cinderella a new lease on life. Barbanègre’s digital illustrations feature bright pastels and a sort of Addams Family sensibility. While the scene inside the job fair features diverse women of all shapes, sizes, and colors, the rest of the book is largely white save for two brown-skinned dance contestants (and the green-skinned fairy godmother!).
Cinderella joins Elizabeth in advocating for girl power. (Picture book. 4-8)