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Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/01/2011 *Starred Review* Josephine-Kathryn “Cinderella” Smith is filled with apprehension over the new school year and the changing relationships among her friends, some of whom went to dance camp over the summer and now seem to be excluding her. Her mother buys Cinderella ruby-red tap shoes, but true to her nickname, she quickly loses one, and as a result, her role as the Pumpkin Blossom Fairy in the dance recital is in jeopardy. Complicating matters is new girl Erin, who needs advice on dealing with her wicked stepsisters, but since Cinderella’s sister, Tess, is sweet, can she really help? Each chapter is cleverly titled after a pair of shoes (“White Mary Janes with Little Heels,” “Gladiator Sandals”), and line illustrations by the gifted Goode enhance the lightheartedness and fun of the story. Grounded in the details of a modern-day tween’s life, Barden’s debut is poignant in its portrayal of a young girl on the threshold of growing up and becoming her own person. The awkwardness Cinderella feels with her former friends is palpable yet not overly serious, and her inclusive enjoyment of life is contagious. The resolution to the stepsister problem is especially satisfying, and although the humor is in the vein of Junie B. Jones and Judy Moody, Barden has nonetheless created her own character in Cinderella. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2011 Due to her propensity for losing shoes (which began on her way home from the hospital at birth), Josephine-Kathryn Smith has always been known as “Cinderella.” When new girl Erin Devlin comes to town, she logically assumes Cinderella’s expertise extends to all components of the fairy tale and thus seeks out Cinderella’s advice to prepare for the arrival of her potentially wicked new stepsisters. Though Cinderella’s actual knowledge is pretty thin, her desire to please Erin encourages her to give the topic a go, and the two girls end up as friends. Cinderella’s narration carries this early chapter book, and her upper-elementary woes are perfectly captured in her eager and personable voice. While a pair of friends on a problem-solving mission is hardly novel for the intended readership, Cinderella and Erin’s approach to the stepsisters’ impending arrival is well crafted and playfully presented (if at times straining credulity a bit). A side plot about Cinderella’s dance class and the all-important casting of the Pumpkin Blossom Fairy adds further to the friendship story as well as highlighting Cinderella’s plucky personality to great effect. Goode’s energetic sketchwork adds to the spirited narrative, showcasing Cinderella and her pals as well as offering occasional spot art. Present this to fans of Pennypacker’s Clementine (BCCB 11/06) or McDonald’s Judy Moody (BCCB 5/00) who are ready for something new. HM - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2011 Gr 3–5—Josephine-Kathryn Smith just can't seem to keep track of her shoes, earning her the nickname "Cinderella." Most of the time her propensity to lose footwear is just an annoyance, but it's a different story when she misplaces one of her new ruby-red tap shoes—they are a necessity if she wants to keep the hard-earned role of Pumpkin Blossom Fairy in the autumn dance recital. On top of that, Cinderella is dealing with some social drama. Her usual group of friends, led by bossy Rosemary T., seems to forget about her when cool, new Erin dazzles everyone in their class. Instead of being roped in by Rosemary T., though, Erin gravitates toward Cinderella. Their close camaraderie sends Rosemary T. through the roof, and her jealous reaction may give readers a clue as to the whereabouts of the wayward tap shoe. The light drama gives readers a nonthreatening environment in which to explore how to deal with friendship difficulties, and they will root for the likable Cinderella from start to finish. Loose, cheerful line drawings pepper the pages, adding to the overall upbeat feel of the book. This is a competently told, solid choice for libraries that are looking to expand their selection of contemporary realistic fiction, but it doesn't stand out among the growing clutch of books about spunky girls with unusual names.—Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.