Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella


Once upon a time, there was a sweet cowgirl named Cindy Ellen, who lived with the orneriest stepmother west of the Mississippi and two stepsisters who were so nasty, they made rattlesnakes look nice! But when a fast-talkin' fairy godmother teaches Cindy Ellen a little lesson about gumption, Cindy lassos first place at the rodeo and the heart of Joe Prince....

You may think you've heard the story before-but you'll get a side-splittin' bellyache ...

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Once upon a time, there was a sweet cowgirl named Cindy Ellen, who lived with the orneriest stepmother west of the Mississippi and two stepsisters who were so nasty, they made rattlesnakes look nice! But when a fast-talkin' fairy godmother teaches Cindy Ellen a little lesson about gumption, Cindy lassos first place at the rodeo and the heart of Joe Prince....

You may think you've heard the story before-but you'll get a side-splittin' bellyache after you're through with this hilarious rendition told Wild West-style!

Cindy Ellen loses one of her diamond spurs at the square dance in this wild western retelling of the classic Cinderella story.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Savory slang adds punch to this tale, which stresses the fairy godmother's message that `magic is plumb worthless without gumption.' Illustrations lush with cactus-flower colors and pale maize gold enhance this rawhide-and-lace fantasy," said PW. Ages 4-8. (Dec.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
With multiple versions of Cinderella dating back a thousand years, there's always room for one more--especially if the evil stepmother's the orneriest woman west of the Mississippi, and the fairy godmother is a pistol-packing scene-stealer who advises Cindy to get a little gravel in her gizzard. It also helps that this Cindy can wrangle, rope, gallop, and lope with the best of them. The "yee haw" western lingo provides a barrelfull of read-aloud fun, and the colorful illustrations crackle with energy and wit. In spite of Cindy's modern spunk, this version stays true to the familiar ending in which she's tickled pink to be riding off into the sunset with Joe Prince. The last page, however, adds a history of cowgirls that salutes their past and present-day accomplishments. Another detail not to be overlooked is the contrasting Cindy pictures on the front and back covers. 2000, Joanna Cotler Books, Ages 4 to 8, $15.95. Reviewer: Betty Hicks
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Lowell has set another classic tale in a Wild West setting. Cindy Ellen was a rancher's daughter who had a "snaky old stepmother" and two stepsisters who "never did a lick of work all day." She also had lots of gumption and, with the help of some magic and a diamond spur, she "got hitched and lived happily ever after in a ranch house full of love and rodeo trophies." The characters and dialogue are fresh, but remain true to the spirit of the tale, from the fairy godmother with her magic pistols to Joe Prince, a rich rancher's handsome son whom Cindy beats in the rodeo competition one day and charms at the square dance the next evening. The heroine is the very picture of spirited sweetness, with auburn hair, a "daredevil grin," and a sprinkle of freckles across her nose. The text is lengthy for a picture book, but is told in language as lively, colorful, and detailed as the watercolor illustrations, and is a delight to read aloud. An abundance of action combined with humor and high-spirited hyperbole make this a rip-roaring rendition that will hold children's attention all the way to the satisfying, though expected, conclusion. Round up some listeners and have a ball!-Starr LaTronica, Four County Library System, Vestal, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kathleen Odean
"What you need first, gal, is some gravel in your gizzard. Grit! Guts!" her gun-toting fairy godmother tells Cindy Ellen, a crying cowgirl whose mean stepsisters have gone to the rodeo without her. In this sparkling Western retelling of the familiar story, Cindy Ellen rides a bucking bronco, wins the trick-roping event and beats Joe Prince in the horse race. When she loses her diamond spur at the square dance, Joe finds her, and they get hitched, to the delight of the godmother, who exclaims, "Yee haw!" Colorful, exaggerated illustrations add to the tall-tale tone of this fractured fairy tale.
Kirkus Reviews
From the author of The Bootmaker and the Elves (1997), another ripsnortin' Western take on a traditional fairy tale. Thanks to a spirited fairy godmother who gets all the best lines—" ‘Remember, there ain't no horse that can't be rode, and there ain't no man that can't be throwed!' "—Cindy Ellen does make the local cattle baron's rodeo and followup square dance, proves herself a roping, riding champion, and ultimately hitches up with the rancher's son Joe Prince. Manning tricks out her characters in dazzling modern cowboy dress, and gives Cindy Ellen a big grin, a flowing mane of honeycolored hair, and diamondstudded stirrups instead of glass slippers. The stepsisters get off lightly, moving away to marry city slickers rather than mutilating themselves as in the Brothers Grimm version. Bright, stylish, and with a boosterish concluding note on women in rodeo. (Picture book/fairy tale. 79)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064438643
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 77,199
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Lowell's family has lived in the American West since Gold Rush days. She is the author of several picture books for children, including The Three Little Javelinas, a Reading Rainbow Book, and The Bookmaker and the Elves, winner of a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America. Her novels for older children are I Am Lavina Cumming and The Boy with the Paper Wings. She and her husband and their two daughters divide their time between Tucson, AZ, and a ranch near the Mexican border.

Jane Manning is the illustrator of dozens of children's books, including the I Can Read Book Baa-Choo! by Sarah Weeks and the New York Times bestselling The Witch Who Was Afraid of Witches by Alice Low. She currently lives in Deep River, Connecticut.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2007

    swashbuckling cinderella fun!

    absolutely love this wild west cinderella story. i get to pull out my southern drawl whenever i read it. the text is a real kicker to read! my kids love it, too. we also recently used it as part of a 'cinderella stories from around the world' study unit.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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