cover image Interstellar Cinderella

Interstellar Cinderella

Deborah Underwood, illus. by Meg Hunt. Chronicle, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-2532-9

Like Cinder for the picture-book crowd, this futuristic take on Cinderella recasts the heroine as a skilled mechanic, one who studies rocket-ship repair late into the night. With her wide eyes, pink hair, and work goggles, Hunt’s Cinderella looks like she’s stepped out of a contemporary indie webcomic, and her extraterrestrial world hints at mid-century illustration influences. Writing in playful, clever rhymes, Underwood (The Quiet Book) gives this Cinderella welcome agency and independence. Yes, her fairy godrobot (who resembles a stylish update of Rosie from The Jetsons) hooks her up with an atomic blue space suit, but it’s up to Cinderella to fix the ship that she pilots to the Royal Space Parade. Cinderella and the prince bond after she repairs his ship (their budding friendship isn’t just interplanetary but interracial, too), and when he asks her to be his bride, “She thought this over carefully./ Her family watched in panic./ ‘I’m far too young for marriage,/ but I’ll be your chief mechanic!’ ” It’s another strong showing from Underwood, and a notable debut for Hunt. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agency: Scott Hull Associates. (May)