Blurb: Cinderella’s Secret Slipper is a story of our favorite princess who more than anything else wants to wear her famous glass slippers to her son’s birthday party. But she can’t because her four-year-old smashed one of them in an attempt at killing a mosquito on the wall. Where is she going to get a glass slipper now?
I love fairy tale retellings, and while this isn’t a retelling but rather an extension of the original fairy tale, it still qualifies in my eyes. It takes well-known beloved childhood characters and puts them in a new environment (in this case, the characters’ own future).
Cinderella and Prince Charming have been married for a while, and their son Junior’s fourth birthday is coming up. He’s received some great presents for past birthdays (I have to admit that I’m kind of jealous of Junior – where’s my birthday dragon?), and decide this year to throw him a huge formal birthday gala. The Prince suggests that Cinderella should wear the glass slippers she was wearing when they first met. But when Cinderella goes to retrieve her glass slippers from her wardrobe, that’s when the trouble begins.
Precocious young Junior has acquired one of his mother’s slippers and uses it to chase down and squash a mosquito on the wall. Unfortunately, being made of glass instead of something more reasonable like, say, leather, the shoe shatters into hundreds of pieces.
The rest of the story involves Cinderella’s attempts to get her shoe repaired before the big event (after declining Junior’s offer to super-glue it). Just when all seems lost, a solution magically appears. The ending to the story is very cute, and of course Cinderella, the Prince, and Junior all live happily ever after.
The story concludes with a reading comprehension quiz (which obviously can be skipped over if so desired – my son is just shy of two years old, so not much for answering questions about the stories we read yet). And the “original” Cinderella story (the sanitized, non-gory version) is included at the very end of the book.
The illustrations are simple and fun, full of bright colors in an almost caricature-style of artwork that younger kids find appealing. The mosquito that Junior squashes is the size of the kid’s head – the illustrator has clearly visited northern Michigan at some point! And I love the expression on the bug’s face on the page where Junior opens his birthday present.
Keep in mind that this is a variation of a classic fairy tale – it’s not meant to be realistic. So yes, the young prince receives extravagant birthday gifts, receives no consequences for his careless behavior with his mother’s glass slipper (other than a small “fuming mad” cloud that appears over Cinderella’s head when her shoe gets broken), and yes, there are other parts where disbelief must be suspended. Remember, this is a story that began with a fairy godmother who turned a pumpkin into a coach and mice into horses and coachmen after conjuring a beautiful gown and glass slippers (that don’t break even after being worn and danced on for hours) out of thin air. It’s really not meant to be realistic, but rather fun and fanciful.
I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review; all opinions are my own.
Author Alinka Rutkowska is also offering a teaser of the new read-aloud version of Cinderella’s Secret Slipper – check it out here!