If you’ve had enough with fairy tales, you’ll love introducing your children to Seriously, Cinderella is So Annoying!: The Story of Cinderella as Told by the Wicked Stepmother ($5.95, Picture Window Books, ages 5 and up) written by Trisha Speed Shaskan. Simply put, this is a mockery of Cinderella’s perfect image. From the viewpoint of the jealous stepmother, Cinderella is treated well by every member of the family, but she is just too chatty and oh, so annoying. I like this book, not only for its humor, but also because it is an original take on a tried and true fairy tale. After reading and being told so many quintessential princess stories, this book makes young readers think in fresh, new ways. The cartoon-like illustrations by Gerald Guerlais are colorful and inviting too. In the back of the book the author suggests that readers read the original Cinderella story and compare it to this one. Any book that is funny and encourages children to think outside the box (or should I say castle?) is a winner.
This past weekend I attended a Mother & Daughter book event at Flintridge Bookstore & Coffeehouse in La Canada, CA. I sat and listened to seven presentations by some of the most interesting and personable women writers for young readers. Now that I have deciphered my notes I can share what I learned with you. If you happen to be in the San Gabriel Valley on Feb 7, don’t miss the one year anniversary of the bookshop’s new location. You’ll be able to take advantage of sale prices as low as 70% off, and enjoy a delicious beverage as well.
Let’s start with local author Kathy McCullough. First you’ll want to visit her wonderful website to get more details than my brief ones here, but suffice it to say I was impressed by her candor, and clever ideas. She has easily transitioned from screenwriter to kids and teen writer and I am certain we can expect to hear more exciting developments about her blossoming career in the months ahead.
Her new book from Random House/Delacorte Press is called Don’t Expect Magic and introduces us to Delaney Collins, f.g. And if you are wondering what the f.g. stands for, it’s fairy godmother, but “without the pink and sparkly” says McCullough. It so happens that Delaney is not at all happy about having to help people, and to be specific, a certain boy she likes, but she’s basically got no choice since she was born with the f.g. gene. I don’t want to give too much away since I’ll be reviewing the book soon and can’t wait!
While the book is billed as a YA novel, McCullough’s heard from delighted readers in 5th and 6th grade who have become quite demanding in the diversity of their subject matter. Parents will feel comfortable allowing their middle grade readers to pick up Don’t Expect Magic because it’s not full of foul language or questionable content. The book combines a little bit of fantasy with a little bit of humor so check out the trailer now and get a taste of the good time in store for you. You can click here for a selection of links where you can buy the book.
The best news is that there will be a sequel featuring Delaney’s rival fairy godmother which promises to be another feel good novel to keep you turning the pages. And what’s McCullough doing now? She’s working away on yet another YA novel so I recommend fans follow her website to keep up-to-date on all her appearances and publication dates.
Please join me here next week to meet more of the charming women novelists I spoke with at the event. Then, make tracks to your favorite book shop to purchase the stack of books I’ve covered. I promise they will keep you enlightened, amused and entertained for hours!