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Cinderella's Rat

Cinderella's Rat

5.0 1
by Susan Meddaugh

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Life is full of surprises for the rat who gets turned into a coachman by Cinderella’s fairy godmother. Susan Meddaugh uses her wit and animated artwork to give a hilarious new take on an old tale in this story of an ordinary rat caught in extraordinary circumstances.


Life is full of surprises for the rat who gets turned into a coachman by Cinderella’s fairy godmother. Susan Meddaugh uses her wit and animated artwork to give a hilarious new take on an old tale in this story of an ordinary rat caught in extraordinary circumstances.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fairy tale magic goes comically awry in Meddaugh's (Martha Speaks) witty take on the story of Cinderella. An ordinary rat and his sister Ruth fear they are doomed after they are lured into a rat trap. But they've happened into no ordinary snare: their captor waves a wand and changes the narrator into a coachman ("Well, more of a coachboy") and instructs him to chauffeur a smiling blonde girl to a ball. As the girl dances the night away, the rat/coachboy finds a wizard to work the same kind of form-changing magic on Ruth. Unfortunately, the bumbling wizard's wacky spells change Ruth into a girl who barks like a dog. This zany string of events leads to a satisfying conclusion, just at the stroke of midnight. Meddaugh suffuses her silly plot with a pert drollery that keeps readers intrigued from start to finish. Children will no doubt find encouragement to imagine all sorts of additional twists on the traditional fairy tale. Meddaugh's spirited watercolors capture the rats' frantic and amazed expressions as they tumble through life-altering adventures. And her skillful use of kinetic swirls and sparkles suggests nothing short of magic. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Tired of the beautiful-girl-who-gets-the-prince scenario? Susan Meddaugh gives us Cinderella's Rat, a delightful retelling from the coachman rat's point of view. Cinderella, the fairy godmother, the mean stepsisters-all are minor characters in this funny tale fraught with fearsome cats and quixotic transformations. Meddaugh's animated art is bright, expressive and sure to please.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
As the rat says, "Life is full of surprises." He and his sister were caught in a trap, when suddenly he is released and turned into a coachman charged with taking Cinderella to the ball. While Cinderella is having fun, he heads for the kitchen. As the tale progresses it gets more complex. His sister is turned into a girl-but not quite what one would expect and like many fairy tales this one has a happy ending that also provides a laugh! Good fun that will be especially enjoyable for kids who are familiar with the Cinderella story.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4What if one of the rats transformed into a coachman by the fairy godmother for Cinderella's coach remained human? What if he has a sister who remained a rat? What if an inept wizard tried to reverse the spell that wasn't a spell to change her back into a human-even though she never was one? With Meddaugh's magic wand, this fairy-tale switcheroo animates the scenario with tongue-in-cheek, tail-in-hand, and out and out clever aplomb. The telling is a perfect example of a successful fractured fairy tale, with switched point of view (told by the rat/coachboy), plays on words, and dramatic tension. The plot is short; the playfulness of story is tall; and the buoyant line drawings capture the whimsy. Just as her "Martha" books (Houghton) delight and entertain, this spoof tickles and surprises royally.Julie Cummins, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
This spinoff from the Cinderella story is an instant classic—children will love it, while adults who read it aloud will admire the imagination and talent Meddaugh (Martha Blah Blah, 1996, etc.) exhibits in this highly original tale.

The story is framed thus: "I was born a rat. I expected to be a rat all my days. But life is full of surprises." The familiar tale is the backdrop for the rat's story: He was caught in a trap, but his captor is a fairy godmother who turns rats into coachmen. He goes along to the ball, and is drawn to the larder, where a fellow servant almost stomps the hero's sister Ruth, still a rat. There begins a series of zany events that only readers fully understand, leading to an ending—a happy ending—that no one will predict. Humor permeates the tale, while clever twists shape it; as in William Steig's best work, the language is spare and catchy, the telling is droll, and pictures and text combine perfectly.

From the Publisher

"This spinoff from the Cinderella story is an instant classic -- children will love it. . . . Humor permeates the tale, while clever twists shape it." Kirkus Reviews

"This spoof tickles and surprises royally." School Library Journal, Starred

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.06(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.15(d)
420L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Susan Meddaugh was born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey. She graduated from Wheaton College, where she studied French literature and fine arts. After working briefly with an advertising agency in New York, she moved to Boston and worked at a publishing company for ten years, first as a designer, then art editor, and finally as art director. While there, she did the illustrations for GOOD STONES (Houghton Mifflin) by Anne Epstein, and then decided to strike out on her own as a freelance illustrator and creator of children's books. Since that time, Susan has written and illustrated many popular books for children, including MARTHA SPEAKS, which was chosen as a NEW YORK TIMES Best Illustrated Book for 1992. In 1998 she was awarded the New England Book Award, given by the New England Booksellers Association to recognize a body of work. Her work also was acknowledged with a New York Times Best Illustrated Award. She lives in Sherborn, Massachusetts.

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Cinderella's Rat 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this book, Conderella's rat, secretly loved her, and wanted to dance with her at the ball. But Cinderella loved the Prince. Great book. She gets the rat in the end.