cover image IF THE SHOE FITS: Voices from Cinderella

IF THE SHOE FITS: Voices from Cinderella

Laura Whipple, , illus. by Laura Beingessner. . S&S/McElderry, $17.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-689-84070-8

This intriguing work reenvisions the time-honored tale of midnight magic as a strand of narrative poems. Beginning with Cinderella in her old age, first-time author Whipple gives voice to the cast of characters, from the remorseful father, now a ghost, to the unrepentantly greedy, grasping stepmother ("Ah, rich, rich, rich./ I love the rhythm of/ rich!"), and stepsisters ("While we're dancing, sleep in ashes/ and brush the soot from off your lashes"). Readers hear from the fairy godmother and the royal family as well, including the besotted prince ("Wait!/ Who's that?/ Smile like moonbeams/ on a splashing spring"). Whipple renders moments of melancholy ("Father comes to my dreams,/ though he is gone./ ... / It seems right to dry tears with sackcloth and ashes" says Cinderella) as fully as comic touches (e.g., the rat-turned-coachman cries, "Where was my tail, long and slim, a-switching?/ Totally gone! Just a memory of motion")—even the glass slipper gets a turn ("I grieve for the glow of my mate"). This fresh, engaging presentation of the Cinderella story unfolds like a lyric opera. Larded with wit, the volume returns to Cinderella, who offers up a sage gem: "The music of true Magic/ sang only that once for me./ After, I had to compose/ the music of my life." Beingessner alternates small inset portraits and vignettes with full-spread paintings of the godmother's gifts and the climactic moment at the ball; her swirling line and color conjure up the story's magical setting. Ages 8-12. (June)