cover image Cinderella Smith

Cinderella Smith

Stephanie Barden, illus. by Diane Goode, Harper, $14.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-06-196423-7

In a clever slice-of-life novel, first-time author Barden humorously depicts the woes of Josephine-Kathryn ("Cinderella") Smith, a girl who got her nickname not because she sleeps by an "ashy fireplace" or has an evil stepmother ("She's just a regular kind of mom who is usually nice but kind of strict"). Rather, it's because she has trouble keeping track of her shoes: Cinderella has lost countless number of them. Her immediate concern is finding the mate to her "shiny, ruby red" tap shoe, so she can perform a solo in the upcoming dance recital. Her nemesis, snooty Rosemary T., doesn't make the situation any better by offering Cinderella her "big, old, brown tap shoes," but Cinderella has a new best friend, Erin, who offers support and distracts Cinderella from her problems by asking for advice on wicked stepsisters, two of which she'll be stuck with after her mother's wedding. Relatable situations paired with rising suspense from the missing shoe mystery provide a brand of entertainment likely to please even reluctant readers. Goode's fluid spot illustrations add to the fun. Ages 8–12. (May)