Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Meg Hunt
I love any story that happens in space. Case in point: when I was a kid, my favorite Muppets skit was Pigs in Space. So it’s no surprise that Interstellar Cinderella is my new favorite picture book.
Unlike the original fairy tale, this Cinderella has a goal. While she toils away fixing robot dishwashers and zoombrooms, she dreams of working on space rockets. Then one day, the prince announces he’s having a space parade–but Cinderella’s stepsisters fly away with her tool box. Her fairy godrobot shows up to lend her a new tool and spacesuit. Cinderella soon makes it to the space parade and even proves her worth by fixing the prince’s burning ship. She vanishes at midnight, leaving just a socket wrench behind, but the prince comes up with a clever plan: he sets out to look for a girl who knows how to fix his ship.
I think one of the reasons I love this rendition so much–besides the fact that it takes place in outer space–is that the original tale is really turned on its head. The prince “falls” for Cinderella because she is clever and able, not necessarily because she is beautiful. Whatsmore, she excels at science, an area that is for some reason seen as a boy’s arena. Plus, she has pink hair. (And who doesn’t want pink hair?) This is a Cinderella who knows exactly who she is, and she’s not afraid to show it.
Oh, and did I mention it’s all in rhyme?
But the best part comes near the end (spoilers?) when the prince asks her to be his bride. Cinderella replies, “I’m far too young for marriage, but I’ll be your chief mechanic!”
Which is really the most sensible thing to say, after all.