Once upon a time, there lived Cinderfella – a little boy forever bossed around by his two older brothers, Gus and Gareth. They make him clip their toenails, clean their room and even finish their homework. They are so mean that on the day of neighbour Kayleigh’s party, Gus and Gareth tell poor Cinderfella that he is not invited. But with a little help from Ruff, his fairy ‘dog-mother’, Cinderfella decides he will go the party after all.
Malachy Doyle brings us a modern gender twist on the familiar story of Cinderella featuring lazy brothers instead of ugly sisters and a karate champion girl next door instead of a prince. This retelling works remarkably well and helps make the story fresh and relatable. The unfairness of the hero’s predicament will inspire sympathy in all readers, not just fellow downtrodden younger siblings, and his eventual triumph will be a cause for celebration and delight.
There is much humour throughout the book and the colourful illustrations from Matt Hunt are full of lively detail that adds greatly to the fun, fresh feel of the story. This is a very enjoyable tale of the underdog winning the day told in a direct, empathetic and vivid style, which should ensure that this version of Cinderella will be read and re-read as often as its classic inspiration.