Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Prince Cinders by Babette Cole (Puffin Books)

Here's a neatly gender-swapped fairy tale courtesy of one of our favourite book heroes, the awesome, the mighty, the sublime Babette Cole.

Respinning a classic children's favourite isn't always easy, but here we meet Prince Cinders, an altogether familiar character - a wee wisp of a lad who is scrawny, skinny and probably a little bit pimply. Compared to his rugged handsome huge and muscly brothers, Prince Cinders has always been a bit pathetic and rubbish, and never gets asked out on any dates.

He spends his evenings cleaning up after his brothers (and tidying up their magazines - with lurid titles like "Moustache Monthly" or "Muscles for All"). It's a pretty poor existence until one day, coughing and spluttering down the chimney comes his Fairy Godmother.

"Time to get your bum down to the disco, Cinders!" says Fairy Godmo. With a flick of her wand, and a few useful accessories Prince Cinders is transformed into a herculean figure that men want to be, and women want to be with.

Off to the dance he hurries, but his clumsy ineptitude doesn't go away, and though he meets a ravishing Princess who thinks he's a bit of alright, Prince Cinders has to dash just as the clock strikes twelve, leaving his tatty old jeans behind...

You're familiar with the rest of the traditional story (swap jeans for a glass slipper) but Babette gives the tale a lovely comic lustre that will sparkle and enchant you enough to have you diving right back to the first page as soon as you've finished. What happens to Prince Cinders? Will the path of true love prevail? Will the muscly brothers muscle in on the act? You'll have to read and find out...

Charlotte's best bit: Prince Cinders rather groovy mode of transport.

Daddy's favourite bit: I love Babette's characters, particularly their expressions. This is one of the funniest retellings of Cinderella we've seen, and we've seen a lot!