Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella

( 1 )

Overview

Jan Brett sets her Cinderella story in a snowy Russian winter where one magical night, Cinders, the most picked upon hen in the flock, becomes the most loved by Prince Cockerel when she arrives at his ball looking so beautiful that even her bossy sisters don't recognize her. 

Jan travelled to Russia and readers will be in awe of the Ice Palace aglow under a deep blue moonlit sky, exquisite ball gowns on the comely pullets, uniforms with gold braids and buttons on the ...

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Overview

Jan Brett sets her Cinderella story in a snowy Russian winter where one magical night, Cinders, the most picked upon hen in the flock, becomes the most loved by Prince Cockerel when she arrives at his ball looking so beautiful that even her bossy sisters don't recognize her. 

Jan travelled to Russia and readers will be in awe of the Ice Palace aglow under a deep blue moonlit sky, exquisite ball gowns on the comely pullets, uniforms with gold braids and buttons on the cockerels, striking Russian architecture transformed into ice in the borders, and a very funny flock of chickens who provide an appealing, original look at this snowy Cinderella. Readers will find these dressed up chickens comical as they pour over the extravagant setting, including a "WOW"-inducing double gatefold of chicken couples whirling around the ballroom. A feast for the eyes sure to become a perennial favorite.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 10/07/2013
As in The Three Snow Bears, Brett gives a timeless story a wintry setting—in this case, 18th-century Russia. Her watercolor and gouache pictures take full advantage of the country’s ornate architecture and exquisitely patterned aristocratic costume, and even make a henhouse elegant. After a girl named Tasha brings oats to Cinders and the other chickens, a blizzard prevents her from leaving the tower that houses them. Tasha curls up by the stove to sleep, giving the ensuing story a dreamlike quality. Largessa and her daughters Pecky and Bossy are all aflutter when an invitation to a “feathered frolic” arrives from Prince Cockerel. After the other hens depart for the ball, a fuzzy Silkie hen arrives to transform Cinders into a beautiful pullet in “a splendid silver sarafan dress.” A gatefold depicting the feathered revelers in all their finery underlines the humor of the premise and Brett’s bountiful imagination. Images in the windows of miniature sideline structures complement and foreshadow the unfolding plot, and the careful details Brett brings to the setting and characters give the story a true sense of enchantment. Ages 3–up. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
02/01/2014
K-Gr 2—As Tasha feeds oats to her chickens in the old tower, a blizzard rages outside. As usual, her beloved Cinders is pushed and bossed around by the old biddy, Largessa, and her daughters, Pecky and Bossy. The blizzard piles snow against the door and Tasha must curl up in front of the warm stove to wait out the night. As she sleeps, another world unfolds in the tower, beginning the familiar tale of a ball, a prince, a fairy godmother, and a slipper. While the tale is well known, the players most certainly are not. In this wintery, St. Petersburg-inspired venue, wet feathers and frayed wing tips replace a ragged dress and an ash-covered face, a beautiful silkie hen stands in for a dear fairy godmother, and the prize of the ball is Prince Cockerel. All ends well for Cinders, of course, and readers get the happy ending that is expected, but Brett's fans know that it's the illustrations that bring magic to the story. A stunning starry sky bathed in moonlight is the backdrop for each panel, from the warm, cozy coop to the dazzling landscape surrounding the prince's ice palace. Inside, readers will find a dramatic gatefold rendering of the dance floor, with hens and cockerels bedecked in their finest attire. What could be mistaken for a comical interpretation of the classic tale is instead a charming transformation with Brett's majestic stylings and a bit of whimsy.—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-13
Brett adds to the wide variety of interpretations of the beloved fairy tale with this charming retelling featuring a flock of elegantly attired fowl in an 18th-century Russian setting. Little Cinders is a small, meek hen with muted gray feathers and a shy demeanor. She lives in a fancy chicken house with onion-domed towers, shown in cutaway views with decorated borders and insets in Brett's distinctive style. The flock is dominated by "old biddy" Largessa and her two large-and-in-charge daughters, Pecky and Bossy, who treat Cinders as their servant. The traditional plot of the fairy tale unfolds as Cinders is left behind on the night of the "feathered fantasy" at the Ice Palace. When the other chickens depart in fine dresses and embroidered waistcoats, a white Silkie hen appears in the role of fairy godmother, outfitting Cinders in a dazzling ball gown decorated with pearls, pink ribbons and lace. The transformed Cinders arrives at the ball in time to win the heart of Prince Cockerel, a handsome rooster with shiny green tail feathers. The visual heart of the story is a double gatefold spread of the ball, which opens to reveal the cast of elegant chickens, dancing at the Ice Palace in all their finery. A captivating addition to the "Cinderella" canon. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399257834
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 19,006
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jan Brett

Jan Brett (www.janbrett.com) is the beloved New York Times bestselling author/illustrator of many books for children. She lives in Norwell, Massachusetts, where she raises show chickens and has more than seventy chickens living at her home.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 26, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Poor, poor Cinders. She¿s a little chicken who gets pushed aroun

    Poor, poor Cinders. She’s a little chicken who gets pushed around by the big, ol’ mean Largessa and her two equally pushy daughters Pecky and Bossy. When the little girl Tasha comes to feed them, Cinders barely gets any food. Those old, grumpy, cruel chickens seem to get all the good eats.




    One evening, with a storm raging outside the henhouse, Tasha decides to stay with the chickens for the night and soon falls asleep. As soon as the girl is sleeping, a magical glow descends and the chickens begin talking about the prince’s ball. From this point on, the story follows the familiar story of Cinderella, albeit with chickens.




    Cinders is, as expected, made to help Largessa and her daughters get ready for the ball. Once those pushy hens leave, Cinders is left alone – she certainly can’t go to a ball with her tattered clothes and frayed feathers. That is until a beautiful Silkie (a very feathery, beautiful type of chicken) comes to Cinders’ aid and, as a fairy ‘godchicken’ of sorts, waves her magic wand and turns Cinders into a dazzling beauty. Her clothes morph into a lovely dress, her feathers now have a silvery sheen, a pumpkin turns into a carriage and an assortment of little creatures become her footmen, coachmen, and horses (not quite horses, but you get the idea). Cinders goes to the ball, meets the prince, dances, must leave quickly and well, we all know the story – it has a happy ending. The story isn’t terribly original, but the chickens are absolutely wonderful.




    The tale starts off slowly, with the girl Tasha going to the henhouse. She doesn’t have any important part to play in the story, other than falling asleep in the beginning and befriending Cinders at the end. The story would have read better to have simply been a tale about chickens. Other than that small qualm, however, I truly enjoyed Cinders, particularly the illustrations, which were amazing.




    Quill says: The illustrations are the real stars of this book – they are magical. Combined with a well-known story with a twist, the book will likely find a place on a special shelf in your house.

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