Cinderella and the Furry Slippers
Written by Davide Cali
Published by Tundra Books
Age range: KS1 or lower KS2 (ages 4-8)
Summary: (from NetGalley)
Handsome princes, fancy castles, extravagant balls . . . in this girl-power fractured fairy tale, Cinderella learns that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is, and it’s better to create your own happy ending.
Cinderella is dying to go to the ball. She’s seen pictures of the fancy castle and the handsome prince, she’s heard the fairy tales about true love, she’s found the perfect dress in Princess magazine and she’s even found an ad for a Fairy Godmother. She’s all set.
Except the fairy godmother doesn’t look like the one in the ad. And the castle doesn’t look like the picture. And the prince . . . well, Cinderella decides her fairy-tale ending is going to look different–and be a whole lot more fun.
Cinderella dreamed that one day an awesome prince on a white horse would come to save her.
But no prince ever came; only more dishes to wash, floors to clean and hair to do.
This book starts off just like the traditional fairytale and, for the first few pages, I wondered what exactly was going to be different apart from the choice of footwear (as given away by the title)
I love the detail and the colours in the illustrations, such as the magazines featuring the prince being read by one of the stepsisters when Cinderella is doing her hair.
Children familiar with the original story will be amused by the subtle deviations, such as the Fairy Godmother designing an awful gown, the pumpkin being replaced by a turnip and the horses by an alpaca, camel and elk.
When Cinderella arrives at the castle (which isn’t nearly as grand as she had hoped), she is introduced to the dance competition which all the girls have to do to win a dance with the prince. The dancing is pretty unusual, but Cinderella is the worst of them all.
She manages to attract the prince’s attention when her furry slipper hits him in the head, but he has such bad breath she runs away!
I thought that would be he end of the story, and initially felt rather disappointed as the original story remained largely unchanged, despite cosmetic changes.
However, it is the next part of the book which is its real strength.
Just about to head home, Cinderella spots a poster for a girls-only job fair, aimed at those who are sick of silly princes and fancy pink dresses.
Needless to say, Cinderella finds something much more exciting than marrying a prince and lives happily ever after!
What I liked: Vibrant, colourful illustrations, feminist message with Cinderella going out and choosing her own future instead of simply aspiring to marry a prince.
Even better if: Last part of the book is the best bit but beginning might take a bit of getting into, particularly for children who feel they already know the story.
How you could use it in your classroom: I plan to use this in our unit looking at traditional tales as I love, love, love fractured fairy tales. I particularly like those which challenge the established narrative by giving the antagonist a back-story, show up the protagonist as being slightly less heroic than the original tale portrays or challenge gender roles and stereotypes. This book could be a useful starting point for discussions about characters in fairy tales and specific gender roles. It could also be useful for prediction, as many will not guess the real ending.
(Thanks to Netgalley and Tundra Books for my free review copy)