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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Double Review: Cinderella Smith and The More the Merrier

Today, I have a double children's book review of both Cinderella Smith and Cinderella Smith: The More the Merrier by Stephanie Barden

TITLE: Cinderella Smith               SERIES: Cinderella Smith #1
AUTHOR: Stephanie Barden      PUB DATE: 4/26/11
PUB: Harper Collins                       FORMAT: pb, 148 pgs
SOURCE: from pub for review

Cinderella Smith

Cinderella Smith has a problem with a capital P. She loses shoes almost as quickly as she puts them on her feet. But now she’s lost the most important shoe of all: her shiny, ruby red tap shoe. Without it she won’t have a chance of being chosen Pumpkin Blossom Fairy for the fall dance recital—and that means no special tutu, no crown, and no solo!
The school year is starting out with big problems too. Her new teacher laughs at her name, she’s sitting at the smart-boys table, and her old best friend is ignoring her. Now the new girl, Erin, has asked for her advice on wicked stepsisters. And Cinderella doesn’t have stepsisters—wicked or otherwise!The recital is just around the corner and the stepsisters are on their way. Can Cinderella and Erin solve the capital P problems in time?
THREE FIVE WORDS: Cute, with a capitol C

MY REVIEW: It’s been a while since I’ve read a book for the younger MG crowd and I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed these fun, quick reads. And Cinderella Smith is a great example of why I love these children’s books so much.

Josephine-Kathryn, better known as Cinderella, doesn’t have a wicked stepmother or ugly stepsisters, just a habit of losing her shoes. But when she enters the third grade, Cinderella has even bigger problems: a best friend turned mean girl who is determined to make sure Cinderella doesn’t get to be the Pumpkin Blossom Fairy in the dance recital, a missing red tap shoe and a new friend with a tricky problem. What’s a clever third grader to do?

In Cinderella Smith, author Stephanie Barden introduces readers to a wonderful character whose charm and spirit are reminiscent of Junie B. Jones, Ramona Quimby and Judy Moody. Full of lots of laughs, unforgettable characters and relatable situations, this is a very entertaining MG read.

The story is told from Cinderella’s laugh out loud point of view and Barden has captured a pitch-perfect third grade voice. Cinderella’s honesty, excitement and joy are infectious and irresistible. I love how when she’s excited, Cinderella talks LIKE THIS!!! And she doesn’t just have problems; she has Problems, with a capitol P. And when life gets dramatic she lets out a sighy Alas. The story is over the top and dramatic in the best, most enchanting way possible.

I love that each chapter’s title reflects the pair of shoes Cinderella is wearing, and her habit of losing just one shoe is too funny. Barden touches upon some very relatable and important issues (mean girls, losing best friends, divorce and new step-families) and she explores these in a way that younger readers will understand and parents will appreciate.

Readers of all ages will enjoy Cinderella’s sparkling charm, her quirky personality and  reading about her genius idea of just how to discover whether her new friend Erin’s future step-sisters are wicked and her troubles with her friend Rosemary T.

(Final thoughts below review two)


TITLE: The More the Merrier    SERIES: Cinderella Smith #2
AUTHOR: Stephanie Barden    PUB DATE: 4/24/12
PUB: Harper Collins                     FORMAT: hc, 144 pgs
SOURCE: from pub for review

Cinderella Smith: The More the Merrier
Vexylent. V-E-X-Y-L-E-N-T. Vexylent.Okay, okay, "vexylent" isn't a real word! Cinderella Smith made it up as a combination of "very" and "excellent." But Cinderella and Erin are hard at work learning to spell real words, because whoever wins first place in the spelling bee gets to pick the theme of the class party!Speaking of words, Rosemary T. has been using some pretty mean ones lately. So Cinderella decides to give her the silent treatment. But Cinderella's aunt Flora tells her that it's time to have a "what's what" with Rosemary. Will Cinderella be able to say, and spell, everything she needs?

THREE WORDS: Awesometastic and Vexylent

MY REVIEW: I jumped right into Cinderella Smith: The More the Merrier after reading the first book, excited to join in Cinderella’s merry dance once again.

Cinderella Smith, the quirky and charming third grader is back with even more friendship troubles, missing shoes and fun adventures. Cinderella’s lifelong friend Rosemary T. continues her mean teasing, but Cinderella’s cool Aunt Flora is around to help her deal with anything. And Cinderella’s new hobby of making up new words comes in handy when the big spelling bee arrives. Whoever goes the farthest in the bee gets to decide the theme of a big class party and Cinderella thinks that’s a vexylent (very excellent) prize.

In The More the Merrier, author Stephanie Barden brings to life Cinderella’s sparkling and captivating personality once again. I gobbled up this chuckle inducing MG read quickly and loved getting to spend more time with my newest favorite third grader. When Cinderella’s parents go away on a trip, her dental hygienist Aunt Flora, along with her grumpy cat, come to stay and she brings a lot of fun, excitement and silliness into the Smith home. 

From purple pancakes to mismatched high-tops to awesome new words, the fun and laughs never stop. But, Barden explores the topic of bullying and broken friendships more in-depth in this second book. Cinderella and Rosemary T.’s feud is relatable and very realistic. Young readers will be able to identify with Cinderella’s hurt feelings and anger. I really liked the “what’s what” Cinderella finally has with Rosemary T.

Cinderella’s journey to the spelling bee is exciting and even makes spelling fun! But, more importantly, Barden offers a wonderful message in the way Cinderella discovers that you should always just be yourself and true to who you are.  


MY FINAL THOUGHTS ON BOTH BOOKS: Cinderella Smith is a charming and lovable MG character and her funny adventures shine. These books are perfect for independent reading or to be read aloud. This series is very Cute (with a capitol C) and fantabulous, F-A-N-T-A-B-U-L-O-U-S, fantabulous.

Find the author: Website / Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository
Cinderella Smith is only $1.99 for Kindle!

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