Title: Cinderella Skeleton
Author: Robert D. San Souci
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
This is not your typical Cinderella Story. In Cinderella Skeleton, the story is told through verse, and of course all of the characters are skeletons. Cinderella Skeleton lives with her stepmother and her nasty stepsisters, and is always kept busy hanging cobwebs, displaying dead flowers around the house, and feeding the bats. When Prince Charnel announces he is throwing a party, Cinderella Skeleton has to stay home and work. She decides to go and visit a witch to seek a solution to her problem, and is quickly transformed into a glamorous skeleton. With a warning that she must return by morning, the witch sends Cinderella Skeleton off to meet her prince. At the ball, they instantly hit it off, and Cinderella Skeleton looses track of time. She rushes out of the ball, and as the prince grabs for her, her entire foot comes off in his hand. The prince searches the land until he at last finds Cinderella Skeleton, and matched her foot to her leg. Cinderella Skeleton gets her happy ending at last.
Cinderella Skeleton by Robert D. Sansouci was a fun read. When I picked up this title, I was expecting a typical Cinderella story with a skeleton twist. But this was so much more than that. The story was told in verse, complete with stanza, rhyme, line repetition, and rhythm. And the illustrations were so original in their design and detail. I loved the vibrant colors in the scenery and on the characters themselves. I would like this book for the fantastic illustrations alone, but the addition of the clever story is a plus. This would be such a great story to pair with a poetry unit! Overall, I would recommend this story to 3-5 grade readers, or to teachers looking for a fun mentor text to use while teaching poetry.
For Use in the Library:
Read this title around Halloween as a fun, spooky read aloud. Then ask the students to turn one of their favorite fairy tale characters into a skeleton. For older students, ask them to try and re-write their favorite fairy tale into verse, using Cinderella Skeleton as a guide.
“Cinderella Skeleton / Was everything a ghoul should be: / Her build was long and lean and lank; / Her dankish hair hung down in hanks; / Her nails were yellow; her teeth were green–/ The ghastliest haunt you’ve ever seen. / Foulest in the land was she.” San Souci (Sootface: An Ojibwa Cinderella Story) takes his interest inCinderella variants one step further by creating a bony heroine whose trip to the ball has a distinctly Halloweenish cast. Even children who’ve never heard of The Addams Family will recognize the conventions (Cinderella Skeleton’s housework consists of hanging up cobwebs instead of taking them down), and the plot follows the original folktale closely, with one grisly exception: instead of retaining her glass slipper, Prince Charnel gets her entire foot, snapped off halfway up the leg bone. This and other potentially scary moments are made humorous in Catrow’s caricatures, which employ the long lines and angles of the skeletons to create particularly dynamic compositions in pencil and watercolor. Cinderella wears a fluttering cobweb gown and a blooming dandelion as her headdress, while Prince Charnel is just as handsome with deeply sunken eyes and ornamental cockroaches scurrying over his Napoleonic dress uniform. Although San Souci’s unusual rhyme scheme, complex syllables, and breaks in meter may trip up a few unwary readers, much remains to be admired in this sweet tale of corpse-meets-corpse.
Burkam, A. L. (2000). [Review of the book Cinderella skeleton, by R. D. San Souci & D. Catrow]. Horn Book Magazine, 76(5), 589-590. Retrieved from https://libproxy.library.unt.edu:9443/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=3511628&scope=site