Friday, November 16, 2018

Review - Interstellar Cinderella

Interstellar Cinderella
by Deborah Underwood
illustrated by Meg Hunt
Date: 2015
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

Once upon a planetoid,
amid her tools and sprockets,
a girl named Cinderella dreamed
of fixing fancy rockets.

With a little help from her fairy godrobot, Cinderella is going to the ball. But when the prince's ship has mechanical trouble, someone will have to zoom to the rescue! Readers will thank their lucky stars for this irrepressible fairy tale retelling, its independent heroine, and its stellar happy ending.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

The comparisons to Marissa Meyer's Cinder are going to be inevitable... although, I have to say, I think I enjoyed this picture book more than I did the novel! Cinderella lives with her stepmother and stepsisters (who look vaguely Asian, which further reminded me of Meyer's book) on a planetoid where she acts as a household mechanic. Her best friend is a robot mouse named Murgatroyd. Despite her stepfamily's best attempts, she ends up going to the Royal Space Parade, where she ends up talking shop with the prince. Because who doesn't like a woman who can fix your spaceship? Aside from the setting (and the fact that it's a socket wrench rather than a shoe that the prince is trying to match to its owner), this is a fairly classic version of the story. Well... maybe not the ending; I quite liked that, as it provided a much-needed (and logical) update.

The illustrations are fun and colourful, with a retro sort of feel. You do need to pay careful attention to them, however, or you'll miss things. (For example, I didn't understand why Cinderella cried, "My toolbox!" until I saw that one of the stepsisters had snatched it; the theft wasn't mentioned in the text.) The whole story is written in rhyming verse, which isn't clunky at all (no small feat) and would be easy to read out loud.

I quite enjoyed this picture book. It would be a great addition to a fairy-tale library, as it offers a bit of a modern take on an old favourite, encouraging girls to enter STEM fields and implying that it's okay not to pair off with the first boy who shows an interest. This is a great fairy-tale retelling to keep kids satisfied until they're old enough to read books like Cinder for themselves.

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: 5/5
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

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