Saturday, September 26, 2015

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood

Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt

Rating: 5 stars

Chronicle Books

Earlier this year I forced (yes, forced!) my kids to watched the movie "Cinderella." We were heading to Disneyworld for the first time, and I felt they needed to know the story before arriving at the Magical Kingdom. I argued that it was a classic, and they'd have to know the story to appreciate some parts of Disneyworld and also dozens of books they'd read in their lives. When an author compared their character to Cinderella, I wanted them to know what s/he was writing about.

I was priming them for stories like the one Deborah Underwood has written.

Interstellar Cinderella turns the classic Cinderella tale on its head in some fantastic ways. Cinderella lives with her unkind stepsisters and nasty stepmother--on a different plant, and she's the family mechanic this time, not maid. When her stepsisters get invited to a royal space parade, Cinderella is told she can't attend. Her stepsisters grab her ever-handy toolbox to make sure she doesn't fix her way into going.

"But wait!" the price called after her
"Please tell me how to find--"
The girl was gone--but she had left
Her socket wrench behind.
But her stepsisters didn't count on Cinderella's godrobot, who hooked her up with a new space suit, complete with some handy tools. Cinderella zooms through the galaxy in time to see the parade. She's gets to see the ship of her dreams fly past...and watches it shoot up a cloud of grit and smoke!

The driver and owner of that ship, the prince, is helpless; his chief mechanic has just quit. Interstellar Cinderella comes to his rescue and fixes his ship in a jiffy. He's impressed and smitten! They "talk for hours of rocket ships," but suddenly it's midnight and she has to go home--as she flies away, her wrench falls out of her space suit. He grabs it. You see where this is going...

The next day he goes out looking for her. Girls from all over the galaxy try to fix the ship he's in with the wrench he's got, but they all fail...until Interstellar Cinderella gives it a try and makes it run smoothly.

Then he proposes marriage. Yikes!

(And this is the best part.)
She thought this over carefully.
Her family watched in panic.
"I'm far too young for marriage,
But I'll be your chief mechanic!"
Hip, hip hooray for Deborah Underwood's go-girl spin off of Cinderella! (And hooray for common sense prevailing for child brides!)

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