Age Range: 4 to 7
We read Prince Cinders’ story to celebrate Prince George’s birth. Prince Cinders isn’t your archetypal dashing prince (unlike his three, large, hairy brothers) but with the help of a dirty fairy he does get his happy ending.
The Story: Shy, skinny Prince Cinders does all the housework while his brothers are at the disco. One evening a dirty fairy falls down the chimney and tries to grant Prince Cinders’ wishes – he wants to be like his brothers. Her spells don’t go quite as planned and he can’t get into the Rock’n Royal Bash as he resembles a large monkey. At the bus stop Prince Cinders’ monkey appearance frightens Princess Lovelypenny but then midnight strikes and he becomes his shy, skinny self again. Prince Cinders loses his trousers in his haste to get away from the princess so next day all the princes try them on. They only fit Prince Cinders and he marries Princess Lovelypenny (the fairy turns the three brothers into palace cleaning fairies).
Prince Cinders is a humorous retelling of the Cinderella story with some wonderfully, original twists, a male main character and a fairy (dressed as a schoolgirl!) whose spells don’t work as they should. Babette Cole’s wonderful text and illustrations are full of humour and can be appreciated just as much by adults as by children. I love Princess Lovelypenny’s fur trimmed, leopard skin jogging suit and find Prince Cinders’ little muscles hilarious. My daughter thinks that the ‘suit’ that Prince Cinders wears to go to the Rock’n Royal Bash is funny. A variety of countries and cultures are represented by the regal characters at the Rock’n Royal Bash, my daughter’s favourite is the belly dancing princess.
Prince Cinders is very shy and not the strongest of characters but he does get the girl (albeit with the help of a completely incompetent fairy!). The humour comes from the twists given to a familiar story and the amusing details in Babette Cole’s illustrations.
There are so many different versions of the Cinderella story but this is the only one I know with a male protagonist. Do you know of any others?
Author / Illustrator: Babette Cole