The Cinderella trope is a bit of a bug-bear truth be told with me.
I dislike the surrendered nature of the original fairy tale with the doing as you’re told, Stepford domesticity message as well as being ‘saved’ first by a Fairy Godmother then the Prince and THEN the factor of consent and choice in marriage to Prince.
That’s not to mention so much more including ‘beauty standards’ and it all gives this message that if you let people walk all over you a Prince will come and save you.It is as damaging as ‘Pretty Woman’ was and just as beguilingly charming to open hearted children, especially girls.
Oh how wonderful it is that Lindsey and Pippa have turned ALL that on it’s head quite literally and aimed it at the most Cinderella vulnerable age-group of Early Chapter books.
Brian the frankly useless Fairy Godmother is fantastic. Whilst I loved the bonkers portrayal by Helena Bonham Carter in the live action film this is brilliant because Brian is like ‘What are you bothering me for? Oh you can do that yourself love.’
Putting the power back in Cinders’ hands, ok it’s magic so she’s got a little extra help BUT it’s still far more empowering than the original story. Brian in loungewear summoned in the forest is also a fabulous scene.
Ok we are living in the land of stories and nursery rhymes so when Sparks, Cinder’s canine companion decides to use his voice it fits the context and is a useful addition as it helps propel the plot along with humour and freshness. Sparks has a fabulous personality and his food obsession is relatable to those who own dogs!!
What I love this the most for is the Feminist twist Cinders doesn’t do as as she is told, doesn’t quite fit in, isnt conventional princess type with her sticky outrageous hair and constantly dirty clothes.
She doesn’t enjoy parties and Balls even if she is curious about them and doesn’t want to be a picture perfect princess she wants to choose and control her own destiny. She even challenges over whether she has to get married st all let alone to the Prince and her father lets her decide what is right for her which is such a sweet touch.
Cinders offers much to the young reader whether it be self acceptance that you can be amazing, inspirational and magical even if you don’t look like something out of Toddlers and Tiaras but also that it tells girls they don’t have to settle for Fairytale tropes if it doesn’t suit them AND that they CAN save themselves and are worthy of saving too just like Cinders.
Such a wonderful and fun filled book I cannot wait for the next instalment.
Cinders and Sparks: Magic at Midnight by Lindsey Kelk illustrated by Pippa Curnick is published by Harper Collins. I received this book through a review scheme on another website, this does not affect my opinion.