cover image Smoky Mountain Rose: 5

Smoky Mountain Rose: 5

Alan Schroeder. Dial Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1733-6

Schroeder (Minty; Carolina Shout!) bases this ""Appalachian Cinderella"" on Perrault's well-known version, but his rollicking language could belong only to America's Smoky Mountains. ""Now lis'en,"" begins the narrator, and what unfolds is a telling of the familiar story as fresh as a spring bluebonnet and as unexpected as its fairy godmother hog. The strong voice of the backwoods storyteller is loud and clear throughout: the wicked stepsisters are ""so mean they'd steal flies from a blind spider,"" and when Seb (""this real rich feller--made his fortune in sowbellies and grits"") tries to put the glass slipper on the stepsister's huge foot, it is ""like tryin' to stretch a li'l bitty sausage skin over a side o' beef."" Sneed's (The Fly Flew In) sun-bleached watercolors feature exaggerated faces, angular forms and skewed, almost fish-eye lens perspectives--the stepsisters, for example, have elongated limbs and enormous feet. Some children may have difficulty decoding the phonetic renderings of the dialect (""I reckon it's hard on ye, not havin' a ma... Would ye lak me to git hitched again?""), but if read aloud, this Cinderella will make readers ""happy as a pig in a peanut patch."" Ages 5-9. (May)