cover image Cinder-Elly


Frances Minters. Viking Children's Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84417-3

This ultracool version of the fairy tale, set in Manhattan, updates the classic with singular flair. Taking current family trends into account, debut picture-book author Minters casts no aspersions on stepmothers and supplies her heroine with a largely absent mother. Cinder-Elly's elder sisters, on the other hand, dish out a full complement of scorn. There is indeed a ball--basketball--and a godmother provides Elly with a groovy pair of glass high-tops to wear to the big game. Naturally, ace hoop-shooter Prince Charming becomes smitten with Elly, loses track of her when the 10 p.m. witching curfew rolls around, then posts flyers advertising the shoe she leaves behind. Nearly every spread features six four-line stanzas, and rarely do the rhymes miss a beat. Lots of quotes enliven the verse, although it's occasionally hard to identify the speaker. Karas ( Into This Night We Are Rising ) doodles people, city buildings and objects in the margins; the cartoon figures interject lighthearted, childlike comments (after Godma costumes Elly, one of the extras says, ``You look great, El!''). Collages, wild patterns and funky fashions mimic music videos and build up the snazzy urban setting. An ideal match of artist and author. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)