Reviews for Cinderella Skeleton


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 September 2000
Gr. 3-5, younger for reading aloud. San Souci puts a bizarre spin on the world's most familiar folktale. Cinderella Skeleton "lives" in Boneyard Acres, where she's forced to keep an entire mausoleum supplied with cobwebs and dead flowers while stepsisters Gristlene and Bony-Jane primp and pose before stepmother Skreech. Thanks to the offices of a good witch, Cinderella gets to Prince Charnel's ball and makes her escape just before dawn. As expected, she leaves behind a shoe--but this one has a foot inside. The text is cast in verse, with a complex rhyme scheme that takes getting used to but keeps the lines from sounding sing-songy. Catrow's artwork seems to have taken a tip from Tim Burton's film Nightmare before Christmas (1993). The backgrounds are eerie and elaborately detailed, and the figures are not really skeletons but rather elongated stick figures with mummified heads and moldering, garishly colored finery. In the end, Cinderella Skeleton hobbles out of hiding to be united with her Prince, and off they float, trailing clouds of--something. Share this macabre rib tickler with Stinky Cheese fans. --John Peters Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Spring
In this sweet tale of corpse-meets-corpse, San Souci creates a bony heroine whose trip to the ball has a distinctly Halloweenish cast. The plot follows the original folktale closely, with one grisly exception: instead of retaining her glass slipper, Prince Charnel gets her entire foot, snapped off halfway up the leg bone. The potentially scary moments are made humorous in Catrow's caricatures and dynamic compositions. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2000 #5
"Cinderella Skeleton / Was everything a ghoul should be: / Her build was long and lean and lank; / Her dankish hair hung down in hanks; / Her nails were yellow; her teeth were green- / The ghastliest haunt you've ever seen. / Foulest in the land was she." San Souci (Sootface: An Ojibwa Cinderella Story) takes his interest in Cinderella variants one step further by creating a bony heroine whose trip to the ball has a distinctly Halloweenish cast. Even children who've never heard of The Addams Family will recognize the conventions (Cinderella Skeleton's housework consists of hanging up cobwebs instead of taking them down), and the plot follows the original folktale closely, with one grisly exception: instead of retaining her glass slipper, Prince Charnel gets her entire foot, snapped off halfway up the leg bone. This and other potentially scary moments are made humorous in Catrow's caricatures, which employ the long lines and angles of the skeletons to create particularly dynamic compositions in pencil and watercolor. Cinderella wears a fluttering cobweb gown and a blooming dandelion as her headdress, while Prince Charnel is just as handsome with deeply sunken eyes and ornamental cockroaches scurrying over his Napoleonic dress uniform. Although San Souci's unusual rhyme scheme, complex syllables, and breaks in meter may trip up a few unwary readers, much remains to be admired in this sweet tale of corpse-meets-corpse. anita l. burkam Copyright 2000 Horn Book Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2000 September #1
This fancy little piece of septet versifying works nicely as a vehicle to tell the story of the graveyard Cinderella. San Souci (Callie Ann and Mistah Bear, p. 1045, etc.) follows the original tale quite closely, substituting things from the bone orchardwhere appropriate: her coach is a hearse; the prince is named Charnel; her stepfamily is Skreech, Gristlene, and Bony-Jane; and, of course, she herself is a skeleton. Instead of simply losing her slipper at the ball, this Cinderella has her lower tibia snapped off. (Picture the prince traveling everywhere with the foot in a velvet case.) Yes, there are touches of the macabre here (each prospective bride pulls her own foot off to try on Cinderella's), but never overmuch or to the point of terrifying. And most of it is hysterically funny. San Souci's verse ultimately takes the show: "Cinderella Skeleton! / The rarest gem the world has seen! / Your gleaming skull and burnished bones, / Your teeth like polished kidney stones, / Your dampish silks and dankishhair, / There's nothing like you anywhere! / You make each day a Halloween." What a picture she makes. Catrow's (The Fungus That Ate My School, p. 474, etc.) artwork is reminiscent of The Nightmare Before Christmas--perhaps that can't be helped when skeletons are the principals--but very much its own thing, with abundant cartoony comic licks and ghoulish creatures galore. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright 2000 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 August #2
"No glass slipper appears in this often funny graveyard romance," PW said. "Instead, the skeletal prince breaks the heroine's shinbone as she flees the Halloween Ball. A Cinderella story that girls and boys will love." Ages 3-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2000 September
Gr 3-7-Not for the faint of heart, this retelling continues the author's fascination with "Cinderella" tales. In challenging vocabulary and a complex rhyme scheme, the clever narrative tells of Cinderella Skeleton, a wraith who lives in a mausoleum with her horrific stepmother, Skreech, and stepsisters Gristlene and Bony-Jane. She wiles away her days streaking the windows, hanging cobwebs, and feeding bats until the Halloween Ball invitation arrives. A good woodland witch conjures up the usual participants into a funeral wagon, dragon steeds, a gown, and slippers, but in fleeing from Prince Charnel at sunrise, Cinderella breaks off her slippered foot mid-calf. Gross, yes, though later other ghosts break off their shinbones with the hope of fitting the leg-and-slipper remains ("Wire or glue; you're good as new!" snaps the stepmother as she pulls off each girl's foot). Catrow's wonderfully weird pencil-and-watercolor illustrations feature wiggly lines, lurid pink and bilious green accents, large-eyed skeletons, and grotesque mutantlike creatures. The envious stepfamily conveniently shrivels to dust, which is certainly less horrible than other endings (though younger readers will still be disturbed about those broken legs). This darkly humorous and spooky variation will tickle the twisted tastes of upper-elementary and middle-school readers if it is displayed where they'll find it.-Susan Hepler, Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Alexandria, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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