cover image Cinder Edna

Cinder Edna

Ellen Jackson. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-12322-2

According to Jackson, the famous Cinderella (here cast as a feckless modern suburbanite) has a neighbor, Cinder Edna. Each does household chores for a nasty stepmother and stepsisters, but while dainty Ella plays the martyr, uncomplaining Edna learns some practical skills (``such as how to make tuna casserole sixteen different ways''). On the night of the ball, as the fairy godmother alights next door, Edna, who ``didn't believe in fairy godmothers,'' dons a dress she has bought on layaway and comfortable penny loafers, and hops the bus to the palace. There she jitterbugs with the prince's Rick Moranis-esque brother Rupert (a virtual poster boy for liberal causes, Rupert ``runs the recycling plant and a home for orphaned kittens''). The other Cindy only sways to the music (``She was afraid of mussing her hair, and she knew those fragile glass slippers would break if she danced too hard''), and the crown prince is vain and dull. O'Malley's ( Bruno, You're Late for School! ) nicely executed, cleverly detailed spreads contrast Cinderella's fantasy glow with Edna's clear-eyed, can-do attitude. This Cinderella send-up is full of kid-pleasing jokes and, besides, it's never too early to discover the hazards of codependence. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)