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Cinders and Sparks: Magic at Midnight

Cinders and Sparks: Magic at Midnight

Lindsey Kelk
ISBN: 9780008292119

A long time ago, in a kingdom far, far away, there lived a girl with messy hair, bright eyes and terrible manners. She was used to taking orders from her stepmother and when she wasn't doing chores, enjoyed spending time outdoors. Her name was Cinders and you might think you know her story but you probably don't know this one. This Cinderella story is about a mud-loving, chore-hating, wish-granting heroine.

Cinders' story begins at home, in her families' little pink cottage in the woods, with her miserable stepmother Margery, stepsisters Agnes and Eleanor and her father, the royal builder. She is constantly nagged about being messy, forgetful and not getting on with her chores. At least she has a supportive best friend, Sparks, her pet dog.

Cinders' chore-filled life is perfectly ordinary, until she discovers she can magically make the dishes wash themselves and her dog Sparks begins to talk! When Brian, her fairy godmother, appears and explains that Cinders has the ability to make wishes come true, she can't quite believe what she is told. Having not been allowed to go the royal ball, Cinders' first wishes enable her to attend. But her immature magic will only last until midnight, so she decides to try and fit in as much fun before then.

However, balls at the palace are not what she expected, they are actually quite boring. The only good thing is the desert table and the nice boy she meets hiding under it, who turns out to be Prince Joderick. He confides that he really wants to be a baker, and not to get married as his parents have commanded him.

When Cinders' magic fades at midnight, she rushes home and you might think you know what happens next - but in a twist to the original tale, Cinders isn't ready for marriage and a life at the palace and escapes on a personal quest of her own...

This is a fantastic fairy tale adventure, with a truly loveable heroine. There are lots of twists and turns that will be thoroughly enjoyed by anyone with a love of fairytale stories and their iconic characters. Author Lindsey Kelk has a witty narrative style, which adds lots of humour to Cinders' story. Pippa Curnick's illustrations are the perfect companion, bringing whimsical characters to life.

Though it retains many of the traditional elements of the original Cinderella story, this tale feels modern and fresh. Clever twists in the plot make Cinders' story feel new and themes such as prejudice, loyalty to family obligation and challenging old traditions make the story feel more topical. Look out for the sequel - Fairies in the Forest.

208 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, librarian


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