Cinderella’s Sister and the Big Bad Wolf
Nosy Crow, 2015
32pp., hbk., RRP $A22.99
Once upon a time (although quite recently in this version), Cinderella lived with her stepmother Mrs Ugly and her three stepsisters. But this isn’t a story about Cinderella. It’s about the youngest Ugly sister, Gertie. Unlike her mother and sisters who lived up to their name, Gertie was kind and gentle and very hard-working. While Cinderella lazed around and did nothing, Gertie did all the chores of the original story.
Gertie’s niceness was the cause of great shame and despair in the Ugly family and so she was hidden away, not allowed to go anywhere with them. So when an invitation comes to attend the Grand Ball, there is no question of Gertie going – unless she can prove that she can be bad and mean. But to be bad and mean will take lessons so she is sent to the Wicked Queen who is on her way to deliver a poisoned apple to Snow White. But unable to help herself, just as Snow White is about to accept the apple, Gertie warns her that it is poisoned. The Wicked Queen is furious and immediately sends Gertie home to her very angry mother. Gertie’s pleas for a second chance see her protecting Hansel and Gretel from the Wicked Witch and again, sent home in disgrace. It is not until she meets the Big Bad Wolf who is determined to eat Little Red Riding Hood that her chances of going to the ball improve.
This is an hilarious twist on a range of familiar fairytales with a most delicious ending. The bright, trendy illustrations bring it into the 21st century and into the world of today’s young reader. They will delight in revisiting characters they’ve already met and seeing a whole new side of the Cinderella they know and love.
Apart from being fun to read for its own sake, this would be an ideal story to use as part of an investigation into perspective because not only is the story told from a different character’s point of view, bringing it into modern times offers a range of new possibilities too. Thus it will have a broader appeal than just the very young who are fairytale fans
If you are looking for a new fairytale for the Share-A-Story guide, this might be the one.