I have organized the picture book reader copies several times recently (for various reasons). And I kept going around this book. I did not want to even touch it. Not that I have an issue with mice or even rats, but dead mice/rats are another thing and these cover critters looked dead.
Never mind the fact that it seemed like it could be a fun alternative Cinderella story. I like alternative fairy tales and Cinderella stories in particular. I used to have a collection of Cinderella stories from all over the world. But I could not bring myself to do read Sootypaws: A Cinderella Story. That is until one day I said, bite the bullet girl and go for it.
Sootypaws: A Cinderella Story (as expected) is not your parents Cinderella fairy tale. Oh It starts out similar (dead mother/father, evil stepmother and sisters, one ball for marriage brokering) but there are modern twists and turns (the Mother is eaten by a cat, the father marries a rat and later the ending has a nice hippie ending about marriage and shoes). Maggie Rudy makes you think you know what is happening but has a few surprises in store. We think we know our Cinderella, but her high thorn heeled shoes are going to take us on another journey. And the Happily Ever After is not what one usually expects at the end of a princess tale.
Now those illustrations. Which are (to say the least) subjective. They can be a bit off putting at times. That “dead rodent” look never really went away for me. Even imagining them as dolls did not help. I could feel a plastic frame with coarse hair on them. The rat mother and daughters’ toes would give anyone shivers. Yet, the placement of it all can be very lovely. The gown and the colors, the slippers even are delicate looking. I am assuming a lot of work went into creating just the right look.
This is a book to read first, judge second. I am glad I tried it. After all I would have missed the unique ending.