cover image Cinderelephant


Emma Dodd. Scholastic/Levine, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-53285-3

Dodd (Meow Said the Cow) proves there’s still plenty of life in the oldest of fairy tales. She casts elephants in both the lead role and as the prince, moves the whole affair into the modern day (Cinderelephant goes to the ball in a white stretch limo), and offers new criteria for a soul mate: “Prince Trunky was bored. He didn’t want to dance with any of the girls—he was worried they might get squashed! If only he could find someone a bit more his type.” There are plenty of visual and verbal jokes—housework is still a chore, even with a vacuum cleaner and washing machine; the heroine’s warthog cousins (standing in for stepsisters) meanly call her “Cinder-irrelevant”—but this is no mere spoof. In fact, the book exudes a palpable sense of an author connecting with her heroine’s loneliness and yearnings, while loving every inch of Cinderelephant’s plus-plus-plus-size body. That’s right, it takes a pachyderm Cinderella—and an artist of Dodd’s caliber—to encapsulate this familiar character’s full humanity. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)