Friday, September 19, 2008

Prince Cinders

Cole, Babette. Trans. 1987. Prince Cinders. New York: The Putnam & Grossed Group. ISBN 0698115546

Plot Summary
A retelling of the classic Cinderella. This version stars a teenage boy as Prince Cinders who has three obnoxious brothers and one slightly incompetent fairy. All is well though, when Prince Cinders loses his bluejeans and Princess Lovelypenny searches for the one who can fit them.
Modern-day twists are incorporated into the retelling including sports cars, a disco, and a bus stop. Princess Lovelypenny is a liberated princess in that she proposes to Prince Cinders. Revenge is sweet at the end when she has the fairy turn the three obnoxious brothers into houseflies, cursed to do housework for the remainder of their lives.

Critical Analysis
Babette Cole's retelling follows the tried-and-true Cinderella plot while maintaining the interest of today's readers by using modern culture and idioms. The language is up-to-date and easy to understand. Cole's illustrations are amusing with a cartoon-feel to them with plenty of current details for readers to recognize and compare with the more traditional elements. The change of having the princess propose is a fun deviation from the norm.

Review Excerpts
"Take a classic story, substitute a few ingredients, season freely with silliness and imagination, dress it all up in jaunty illustrations, and what have you got? In the case of Cole's Prince Cinders, an outrageously funny romp of a picture book...A madcap, highly entertaining spoof." - Publishers Weekly

"Would bring giggles to any age." - School Library Journal

Use Venn diagrams to practice comparing and contrasting using various Cinderella versions.
Challenge students to write their own new ending different from the happily-ever-after or the one presented in Prince Cinders.
Discuss the pros and cons for getting revenge.

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