Friday 9 June 2017

ReaditDaddy's Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 9th June 2017 - "Elly and the Smelly Sneaker: A Riches to Rags Story" by Leslie Gorin and Lesley Vamos (Sterling Children's Books)

Our first Picture Book of the Week this week is a fabulous retelling of the Cinderella story - but wait, don't run, you'll love the originality of this particular version...
It's really not often we say this, I mean some retellings of classic fairy tales are so workmanlike and not vastly different from the originals - so coming across one that is fresh and original AND features something I don't think we've ever featured in a children's book review before is a real bonus.

"Elly and the Smelly Sneaker: A Riches to Rags Story" starts off with Elly. She's doted on by her stepmother and her two sisters, and wants for nothing, never has to lift a finger at home, and leads a very charmed life.

The only problem is that Elly is expected to behave like a prim and proper little madam. Elocution lessons, lessons in deportment, frilly dresses and a whole heap of utter boredom seem to be her daily grind. She doesn't even get to dirty her hands cleaning the kitchen as there are servants for all that.

Elly is so bored that even when she's invited to the ball she can't face the thought of it.

It's time for her Fairy Godfather to step in. He knows Elly's heart's desire is to sneak out and play a few rounds of baseball at the local park.

With a flick of his wand he turns her fine dresses into baseball duds, her delicate glass slippers into a well worn pair of (stinky) baseball boots. But she'd better be back home before the clock strikes midday, otherwise the magic will be undone.

You can probably guess the rest of the story, with some awesome substitution for the ball being the ball game, and the handsome prince being the baseball team captain (handsome but not in an irritating way) - and of course whomsoever fits that stinky discarded sneaker will become the short-stop on the team!

Wonderful! I mean we don't even really 'get' Baseball (apologies to our American readers, but isn't it a bit like rounders?) but this was huge huge amounts of fun and is a brilliant reinvention of a well worn classic. We also liked the fact that there's none of that silly "marrying" malarkey at the end of the story as in the original. Much much better this way!

Charlotte's best bit: Elly playing in the match and knocking 'em out of the park.

Daddy's favourite bit: Just when you think you've seen just about every single reinvention of a classic story, a new and surprising one comes along. Absolutely brilliant!

(Kindly supplied for review)

"Elly and the Smelly Sneaker" by Leslie Gorin and Lesley Vamos is out now, published by Sterling Children's Books.