From the Publisher
"Fabulous art by Catrow and clever verse by San Souci . . . this version is not for the faint of heart!"--San Francisco Chronicle
"A Cinderella story that girls and boys will love."--Publishers Weekly
[star] "Hysterically funny."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"No glass slipper appears in this often funny graveyard romance," PW said. "Instead, the skeletal prince breaks the heroine's shinbone as she flees the Halloween Ball. A Cinderella story that girls and boys will love." Ages 3-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
A very strange Cinderella has unique charm in this macabre version of the familiar story. San Souci tells her tale in a concise, intricate verse form that includes a grisly sense of humor with its vivid description. She is a skeleton, with a witch to transform her pumpkin, etc. and change her rags to fancy gown. Prince Charnel is left with her snapped-off foot bone to match in order to find his lost love for a most unusual happy ending. Catrow's double page scenes are a fair match for this unusual version, with their contrasting misty hues of glowing pinks and bilious yellows, and broken stone walls with creepy vines and creepier creatures. Of course the main characters, with their costumed skeleton bodies and straggly-haired skulls, steal the show. The happy couple, he in Napoleonic hat and uniform and she with a dandelion sprouting from her head, are the epitome of ghoulish parody, a sure hit with middle schoolers. 2000, Silver Whistle/Harcourt Inc., $16.00. Ages 6 to 12. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 3-7-Not for the faint of heart, this retelling continues the author's fascination with "Cinderella" tales. In challenging vocabulary and a complex rhyme scheme, the clever narrative tells of Cinderella Skeleton, a wraith who lives in a mausoleum with her horrific stepmother, Skreech, and stepsisters Gristlene and Bony-Jane. She wiles away her days streaking the windows, hanging cobwebs, and feeding bats until the Halloween Ball invitation arrives. A good woodland witch conjures up the usual participants into a funeral wagon, dragon steeds, a gown, and slippers, but in fleeing from Prince Charnel at sunrise, Cinderella breaks off her slippered foot mid-calf. Gross, yes, though later other ghosts break off their shinbones with the hope of fitting the leg-and-slipper remains ("Wire or glue; you're good as new!" snaps the stepmother as she pulls off each girl's foot). Catrow's wonderfully weird pencil-and-watercolor illustrations feature wiggly lines, lurid pink and bilious green accents, large-eyed skeletons, and grotesque mutantlike creatures. The envious stepfamily conveniently shrivels to dust, which is certainly less horrible than other endings (though younger readers will still be disturbed about those broken legs). This darkly humorous and spooky variation will tickle the twisted tastes of upper-elementary and middle-school readers if it is displayed where they'll find it.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Childrens Book Watch
These new arrivals provide engaging reading for young picturebook fans. Robert San Souci's Cinderella Skeleton will reach ages 3-7 with its odd but engaging story of a ghoulish Cinderella. Kid with goodreading skills will find the rhyme engaging and the story odd enough to engross. Andrea Davis Pinkney's Let It Shine (201005-X, $20.00) tells of black women freedom fighters, and includes bright drawings by Stephen Alcorn as it relates the lives of three very different women who helped defend their rights. Good reading skills will enhance appreciation of these true stories. Janell Cannon's Crickwing (201790-9, $16.00) will reach ages 6-9 with its story of a cockroach who becomes a bully. Offend the leafcutter queen and you have a problem, he soon finds. The creator of Stellaluna provides beautiful drawings again, here. Charlotte Pomerantz's Mousery (202304-6, $16.00) will reach ages 3-7 with its two engaging mice who have no friends and no visitors until mousekins enter their lives. Kurt Cyrus' big, bright drawings are appealing in this whimsical tale. William Miller's Tituba (201897-2, $16.00) will reach ages 6-9 with the story of two Salem Village girls who accuse Tituba, a slave, of witchcraft. Good reading skills required for this picturebook story of a slave woman's dilemma.
Childrens Book Watch
This fancy little piece of septet versifying works nicely as a vehicle to tell the story of the graveyard Cinderella. San Souci (Callie Ann and Mistah Bear, p. 1045, etc.) follows the original tale quite closely, substituting things from the bone orchard where appropriate: her coach is a hearse; the prince is named Charnel; her stepfamily is Skreech, Gristlene, and BonyJane; and, of course, she herself is a skeleton. Instead of simply losing her slipper at the ball, this Cinderella has her lower tibia snapped off. (Picture the prince traveling everywhere with the foot in a velvet case.) Yes, there are touches of the macabre here (each prospective bride pulls her own foot off to try on Cinderella's), but never overmuch or to the point of terrifying. And most of it is hysterically funny. San Souci's verse ultimately takes the show: "Cinderella Skeleton! / The rarest gem the world has seen! / Your gleaming skull and burnished bones, / Your teeth like polished kidney stones, / Your dampish silks and dankish hair, / There's nothing like you anywhere! / You make each day a Halloween." What a picture she makes. Catrow's (The Fungus That Ate My School, p. 474, etc.) artwork is reminiscent of The Nightmare Before Christmasperhaps that can't be helped when skeletons are the principalsbut very much its own thing, with abundant cartoony comic licks and ghoulish creatures galore. (Picture book. 37)