cover image Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella

Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella

Jan Brett. Putnam, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25783-4

As in The Three Snow Bears, Brett gives a timeless story a wintry setting—in this case, 18th-century Russia. Her watercolor and gouache pictures take full advantage of the country’s ornate architecture and exquisitely patterned aristocratic costume, and even make a henhouse elegant. After a girl named Tasha brings oats to Cinders and the other chickens, a blizzard prevents her from leaving the tower that houses them. Tasha curls up by the stove to sleep, giving the ensuing story a dreamlike quality. Largessa and her daughters Pecky and Bossy are all aflutter when an invitation to a “feathered frolic” arrives from Prince Cockerel. After the other hens depart for the ball, a fuzzy Silkie hen arrives to transform Cinders into a beautiful pullet in “a splendid silver sarafan dress.” A gatefold depicting the feathered revelers in all their finery underlines the humor of the premise and Brett’s bountiful imagination. Images in the windows of miniature sideline structures complement and foreshadow the unfolding plot, and the careful details Brett brings to the setting and characters give the story a true sense of enchantment. Ages 3–up. (Nov.)