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THE GOSPEL CINDERELLA by Joyce Carol Thomas

THE GOSPEL CINDERELLA

By Joyce Carol Thomas (Author) , David Diaz (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: May 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-025387-8
Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Those who love reading tales with Cinderella motifs will no doubt want to have this one, however disappointing it might be. Set in a southern swamp, the story revolves around the competition for a place in a gospel choir rather than marriage to a prince. Queen Mother Rhythm loses her infant daughter during a hurricane. Rescued by “Crooked Foster Mother” (a poor choice of names), she lives the typical Cinderella life with the mean twin sisters, Hennie and Minnie, and their mother. She can sing; they cannot. Then they learn that Queen Mother Rhythm is about to retire and she needs someone to take her place as lead singer. The ending is predictable and follows the basic folkloric story structure. But Thomas’s telling, despite moments of soulful jive, mostly clumps along without charm. Diaz’s use of rich bold colors of purples, pinks, and leafy greens in strikingly patterned illustrations is spirited and beautiful, but is not enough to redeem the lackluster text. (Picture book. 5-9)