Reviews for Cinders : A Chicken Cinderella

Kirkus Reviews 2013 November #2
Brett adds to the wide variety of interpretations of the beloved fairy tale with this charming retelling featuring a flock of elegantly attired fowl in an 18th-century Russian setting. Little Cinders is a small, meek hen with muted gray feathers and a shy demeanor. She lives in a fancy chicken house with onion-domed towers, shown in cutaway views with decorated borders and insets in Brett's distinctive style. The flock is dominated by "old biddy" Largessa and her two large-and-in-charge daughters, Pecky and Bossy, who treat Cinders as their servant. The traditional plot of the fairy tale unfolds as Cinders is left behind on the night of the "feathered fantasy" at the Ice Palace. When the other chickens depart in fine dresses and embroidered waistcoats, a white Silkie hen appears in the role of fairy godmother, outfitting Cinders in a dazzling ball gown decorated with pearls, pink ribbons and lace. The transformed Cinders arrives at the ball in time to win the heart of Prince Cockerel, a handsome rooster with shiny green tail feathers. The visual heart of the story is a double gatefold spread of the ball, which opens to reveal the cast of elegant chickens, dancing at the Ice Palace in all their finery. A captivating addition to the "Cinderella" canon. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 October #1

As in The Three Snow Bears, Brett gives a timeless story a wintry setting--in this case, 18th-century Russia. Her watercolor and gouache pictures take full advantage of the country's ornate architecture and exquisitely patterned aristocratic costume, and even make a henhouse elegant. After a girl named Tasha brings oats to Cinders and the other chickens, a blizzard prevents her from leaving the tower that houses them. Tasha curls up by the stove to sleep, giving the ensuing story a dreamlike quality. Largessa and her daughters Pecky and Bossy are all aflutter when an invitation to a "feathered frolic" arrives from Prince Cockerel. After the other hens depart for the ball, a fuzzy Silkie hen arrives to transform Cinders into a beautiful pullet in "a splendid silver sarafan dress." A gatefold depicting the feathered revelers in all their finery underlines the humor of the premise and Brett's bountiful imagination. Images in the windows of miniature sideline structures complement and foreshadow the unfolding plot, and the careful details Brett brings to the setting and characters give the story a true sense of enchantment. Ages 3-up. (Nov.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2014 February

K-Gr 2--As Tasha feeds oats to her chickens in the old tower, a blizzard rages outside. As usual, her beloved Cinders is pushed and bossed around by the old biddy, Largessa, and her daughters, Pecky and Bossy. The blizzard piles snow against the door and Tasha must curl up in front of the warm stove to wait out the night. As she sleeps, another world unfolds in the tower, beginning the familiar tale of a ball, a prince, a fairy godmother, and a slipper. While the tale is well known, the players most certainly are not. In this wintery, St. Petersburg-inspired venue, wet feathers and frayed wing tips replace a ragged dress and an ash-covered face, a beautiful silkie hen stands in for a dear fairy godmother, and the prize of the ball is Prince Cockerel. All ends well for Cinders, of course, and readers get the happy ending that is expected, but Brett's fans know that it's the illustrations that bring magic to the story. A stunning starry sky bathed in moonlight is the backdrop for each panel, from the warm, cozy coop to the dazzling landscape surrounding the prince's ice palace. Inside, readers will find a dramatic gatefold rendering of the dance floor, with hens and cockerels bedecked in their finest attire. What could be mistaken for a comical interpretation of the classic tale is instead a charming transformation with Brett's majestic stylings and a bit of whimsy.--Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH

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