cover image Cinderella


William Wegman. Hyperion Books, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-1-56282-348-1

With his signature humorous, surreal photographs of weimaraners, the creator of Man's Best Friend glibly retells a much-loved story. Wegman poses his canine models in minimal sets; the dogs' heads pop out of kitschy gowns and campy wigs, while human hands rather than paws project from the clothing. (In one scene a character extends a human foot with garish red toenails to try on the glass slipper.) The unkind stepmother, wearing a disheveled black wig, intimidates readers with a cold gaze; more winsome are Cinderella, exhibiting a shy dignity, and the prince, who wears a beseeching expression. Wegman even finds six liver-colored puppies to act as ``coach horses'' for Cinderella's carriage. Attached to such arresting images, a lengthy--and only intermittently witty--text seems almost an afterthought, and may well be over children's heads. Audiences have grown accustomed to cartoons featuring animals with human bodies, but this spooky parade of stiff characters treads a delicate line between the comic and the grotesque. While some readers will find it prepossessingly silly, others may feel unsettled or alarmed. All ages. (Apr.)