JOE CINDERS by Marianne Mitchell


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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This is a knee-slapping, rootin’-tootin’ Wild West version of the classic Cinderella tale. Joe Cinders, known as step-skunk to his three lazy brothers, does all the chores on their western ranch after his ma and step-pa “got swept away in a gully washer.” But he still has his dreams—dreams that include Rosalinda, the richest and prettiest rancher in the region. When a letter arrives inviting the Bronco boys to a fall fiesta at Rosalinda’s ranch, Joe doesn’t even dare to hope that he can go. He’s too busy with the chores, which include toting water for the brothers’ once-a-year baths. That night, Joe is left alone to watch over the herd . . . and comes face-to-face with a mysterious stranger wearing a serape and huge sombrero. The man waves his magic stick and allows Joe to go to the fiesta dressed as a dapper cowboy and driving a new red pickup truck. Joe arrives at the fiesta just in time to save everyone from an escaped bull. Thus, he captures the attention of Rosalinda, who will dance with no one else. During his midnight escape, Joe catches his foot in a prairie dog hole and leaves his red boot behind. In the end, Rosalinda gets down on one knee and proposes to the thrilled young cowboy. The two transform her ranch into the Red Boot Ranch where the three Bronco boys each have a hysterically clever job title, and the couple regularly entertain the mysterious stranger who made all their dreams come true. Mitchell’s marvelously funny details, western words, and classic fairy tale base combine to make this a sure winner with readers of all ages. Langdo’s illustrations hit the mark and add to the appeal of the storyline. Many are sure to get a laugh even without the story—one of the brothers walks around in his red union suit, complete with the flap in the back. Mitchell is sure to accomplish her goal of “roping in readers” with this winner. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8050-6529-6
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2002


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