From School Library Journal
Grade 3-7-Not for the faint of heart, this retelling continues the author's fascination with "Cinderella" tales. In challenging vocabulary and a complex rhyme scheme, the clever narrative tells of Cinderella Skeleton, a wraith who lives in a mausoleum with her horrific stepmother, Skreech, and stepsisters Gristlene and Bony-Jane. She wiles away her days streaking the windows, hanging cobwebs, and feeding bats until the Halloween Ball invitation arrives. A good woodland witch conjures up the usual participants into a funeral wagon, dragon steeds, a gown, and slippers, but in fleeing from Prince Charnel at sunrise, Cinderella breaks off her slippered foot mid-calf. Gross, yes, though later other ghosts break off their shinbones with the hope of fitting the leg-and-slipper remains ("Wire or glue; you're good as new!" snaps the stepmother as she pulls off each girl's foot). Catrow's wonderfully weird pencil-and-watercolor illustrations feature wiggly lines, lurid pink and bilious green accents, large-eyed skeletons, and grotesque mutantlike creatures. The envious stepfamily conveniently shrivels to dust, which is certainly less horrible than other endings (though younger readers will still be disturbed about those broken legs). This darkly humorous and spooky variation will tickle the twisted tastes of upper-elementary and middle-school readers if it is displayed where they'll find it.Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA
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Gr. 3-5, younger for reading aloud. San Souci puts a bizarre spin on the world's most familiar folktale. Cinderella Skeleton "lives" in Boneyard Acres, where she's forced to keep an entire mausoleum supplied with cobwebs and dead flowers while stepsisters Gristlene and Bony-Jane primp and pose before stepmother Skreech. Thanks to the offices of a good witch, Cinderella gets to Prince Charnel's ball and makes her escape just before dawn. As expected, she leaves behind a shoe--but this one has a foot inside. The text is cast in verse, with a complex rhyme scheme that takes getting used to but keeps the lines from sounding sing-songy. Catrow's artwork seems to have taken a tip from Tim Burton's film Nightmare before
Christmas (1993). The backgrounds are eerie and elaborately detailed, and the figures are not really skeletons but rather elongated stick figures with mummified heads and moldering, garishly colored finery. In the end, Cinderella Skeleton hobbles out of hiding to be united with her Prince, and off they float, trailing clouds of--something. Share this macabre rib tickler with Stinky Cheese
fans. John PetersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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