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Cinderella: (as if you didn't already know the story)    by Barbara Ensor order for
by Barbara Ensor
Order:  USA  Can
Schwartz & Wade, 2006 (2006)
*   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Barbara Ensor's first book, Cinderella (as if you didn't already know the story) offers an easy and fast read to youngsters. Ensor's spoof of the original has the same theme, i.e. a girl overworked by her snobby stepmother and two stepsisters, and made to move to the attic. Readers are offered questions to ponder in the author's effort to place the story in today's context: 'Did you remember that Cinderella was such a nice girl - so smart and funny? ... Did you know that 'Cinderella' was just a nickname?'

Most interesting are the girl's handwritten letters telling her deceased Mama that Dad has remarried and is now an accountant, after giving up his place in a bebop band. Cinderella writes, 'I regret to inform you that ... your husband has married a second time ... I don't expect you will be able to read this ... P.P.S. Don't worry about writing back, I don't expect miracles or anything. (We don't believe in them, or do we?)' Technically the invitation to the ball is for all three young women, but 'I don't have the right clothes' muses Cinderella as she whips up the steps' ball gowns. The fairy godmother pops in as 'a total stranger', directing Cinderella to get 'the rather nice pumpkin I noticed out in the garden' and set out the thingamajigs her Mama used for catching mice. A rat is turned into an impatient coach driver named Charles, while the pumpkin becomes gold with a tartan plaid interior. The mice are zapped into horses, with garden lizards turned into six coachmen.

The prince notices Cinderella immediately upon her arrival at the ball, and claims all her dances. She loses her left shoe at the stroke of midnight. The prince locates her and offers marriage, which she accepts with hesitation considering 'she didn't really even know the guy, apart from ... his favorite foods ... and that he is a good dancer'. Barbara Ensor has written for New York Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Family Life, The Village Voice, among other publications. On the cover she offers 'a quick read for smart girls' in this modern version of the well-known tale. This rendition is a quick and easy read offering a new point of view or two, especially the ending sentence - 'So you see, nowadays, Queen Cinderella isn't afraid or anyone or anything. Nobody is her boss'.

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