cover image ADELITA: A Mexican Cinderella Story

ADELITA: A Mexican Cinderella Story

Tomie dePaola, . . Putnam, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23866-6

There's no pumpkin coach or glass slipper in sight, but Cinderella fans will find much to like in dePaola's (26 Fairmount Avenue) original twist, infused with Mexican warmth and color. Following her father's sudden death, Adelita is left to suffer the abuse of her cruel stepmother and stepsisters. Adelita's kindly nanny/housekeeper takes on the role of fairy godmother, making certain that the girl has something to wear to the party thrown by a local wealthy family to honor their (eligible bachelor) son, Javier. Adelita makes an unforgettable impression at the gala, draped in a dramatic red shawl that was her mother's; Adelita uses it to signal to Javier when he comes looking for her the next day. DePaola tweaks just enough details to make his version fresh; his liberal use of Spanish phrases (translated within the text) and cultural details enlighten as they enliven. He humorously winks at readers, too, by having his characters refer to the classic story ("All Doña Micaela and her two daughters could talk about was 'the mysterious Cenicienta' [Cinderella] who had appeared and then disappeared from the fiesta, just like the fairy tale"). His vibrant acrylics incorporate folk art motifs as well as rustic domestic items. The jazzy design features mosaic-like tile backgrounds of varying shades that frame smaller panels and portraits throughout. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)