- Age Range: 6 - 10 years
- Grade Level: 1 - 5
- Series: Cinderella Smith (Book 3)
- Hardcover: 144 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins (April 23, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062004433
- ISBN-13: 978-0062004437
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,361,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cinderella Smith: The Super Secret Mystery Hardcover – April 23, 2013
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Cinderella’s third adventure finds her researching ocelots for an endangered species report—hampered by the fact that someone has taken every book she needs from the school library. Mean girls Rosemary T. and Rosemary W. are the prime suspects, but Cinderella (generous and good as her namesake) finds a workaround using the public library. Series fans will chuckle at this third-grader’s constant search for her missing footwear, empathize as she deals with friends and enemies, and applaud when Charlie (Prince) offers Cinderella his basketball shoe for the walk home. Illustrated with Goode’s humorous cartoons. Grades 2-4. --Kay Weisman
“Cinderella continues to charm with her positive ways of making peace in her third-grade classroom.” (Seattle Times)
Fans of this series will appreciate the subtle changes that happen in these sunny stories. The boys and girls are growing up and noticing each other in different ways-they solve problems and forgive each other. Goode’s black-and-white illustrations add humor and emotion to the story. (Kirkus Reviews)
praise for CINDERELLA SMITH: “Funny and clever! Readers will love this modern day Cinderella. It’s a delight…with the most satisfying ending.” (Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor winner and author of best-selling Polk Street School series)
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Top customer reviews
Cinderella Smith is called that, not because she lives in a firepit or something, but because she always loses her shoes. It's weird that she loses them, it's too crazy, how can she lose them when they're in a shoebox?
I don't like the Rosemarys because they tattle tale on her and I can tell you why. I don't know why they don't like her anymore. Whenever she gets up to do stuff, they notice she's not wearing her shoes and that they're underneath her desk. They say in a mean way, "Cinderella's not wearing her shoes."
She makes me want to read on and on and on.
~ Emma, 3rd Grade
At the outset this book looks like another variation on the quirky girl vanquishes mean girls formula. There's nothing particularly wrong with that, but there are a lot of those books around at the moment and I suspect that even elementary school readers are getting a bit tired of mean girls and bullies. Well, this book will confound you by repeatedly zigging when you expect a zag, and by offering startling and rewarding insights just when you expect the usual.
We start with Cinderella and her best friend, Erin. The friendship between the two is perfectly drawn - each has the other's back and the other's unquestioned loyalty. They are equal partners and completely in sync and supportive of each other. The constitute the BFF ideal and I would have been happy with this book if it were nothing more than a school daze tale that followed these two around on their adventures. Cinderella's "humorous quirk" is that she's always losing one or both of her shoes, (hence the nickname). This is a bit precious, but it ends up being just a low-key running joke so it doesn't really detract from the story.
The balance of the characters are Cinderella's fellow third graders, a few teachers, a few parents, and Cinderella's little sister. All of these characters are surprisingly authentic, realistically drawn, and more important than usual to the overall story. Especially important are the classmates. There are a few who are close to Cinderella, then a few who are less important, and then a few who are incidental. At any given point, since much of the action takes place in the classroom, as many as five or six kids are involved in the action. Each one has a distinct personality, none of them are "types", and all of them are smart, decent, and relatable. Sometimes the book reads as though the entire third grade class is the main character, and you get a sort of Robert Altman movie, big cast crosstalk dynamic going. And this is a book for early readers.
Along the same line, Cinderella's relationship with her younger sister is normal and decent, Mom and Dad are sympathetic and supportive parent figures, teachers are alert and in control, and while there is no cloying Mayberry cuteness there is a general air of decency and fair play to everything that happens in the book. This is balanced by the occasional bit of edginess and a certain sharpness that underlines the fact that nice doesn't mean sappy.
The mystery is slight and is driven by conflict with two mean girls who are snarky but not really terribly mean. This is mean girls as annoyance rather than as evil mortal enemies, which to me is where fictional middle grade mean girls should be. If anything, the plot is most like a "month in the life of" a third grader, and the book is character driven and carried by the author's energetic but light touch. Apparently an awful lot can happen in a few hours in a third grade classroom.
So, really, character driven third grade fiction, that defies most of the chapter book conventions? How can that not be good.
Please note that I found this book while browsing the local library's Kindle books, and downloaded it for free. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
If you are a fan of Junie B. Jones or Nancy Drew you will love reading Cinderella Smith. Illustrations by Caldecott Honor winner Diane Goode help to bring the story to life adding an appeal to the Cinderella’s story.
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book HarperCollins Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion in any way.