Deborah Hopkinson

Award Winning Author of Fiction & Nonfiction for Children & Teens

Cinderella and a Mouse Called Fred

Cinderella and a Mouse Named Fred

What is this book about?

If you thought you knew the fairy tale Cin­derel­la, think again!

Did you know that the fairy god­moth­er was actu­al­ly grouchy? Or that the rodent she trans­formed into the coach’s horse was named Fred? Or that Cin­derel­la hid from the prince when he came look­ing for her with that uncom­fort­able glass slipper?!

A best loved fairy­tale is giv­en the end­ing it deserves in this clever pic­ture book that shows a hero­ine shape her own des­tiny … and find her fairy­tale princess.

illustration by Paul O Zelisnky from Cinderella and a Mouse Called Fred
illus­tra­tion © Paul O. Zelin­sky, from Cin­derel­la and a Mouse Called Fred,
pub­lished by Anne Schwartz Books, Pen­guin Ran­dom House, 2023


Geeks Out inter­view with Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son and Paul O. Zelin­sky, by Michele Kirichan­skaya, 11 August 2023


  “Every­thing old is new again—and keeps get­ting bet­ter; a charm­ing Ella for a new gen­er­a­tion.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

“Why just frac­ture a fairy tale when one can infuse it with new pos­si­bil­i­ties for self-deter­mi­na­tion?” (Pub­lish­ers Week­ly)

“A fair­ly stan­dard retelling changes course quick­ly when Cin­derel­la storms out of the ball (“What a dis­as­ter!”) declar­ing that the prince is a snob and her feet are killing her (“Seri­ous­ly? Glass high heels?”). As her horse turns back into a mouse and the pump­kin coach cracks open on the road, “Ella” blithe­ly kneels on the ground, picks out the seeds, and pock­ets them. “I’ll find my own des­tiny, thank you very much”–and she does, with mouse pal Fred wit­ness to it all. Zelin­sky’s humor­ous illus­tra­tions have fun with Cin­derel­la’s clown-like step­fam­i­ly and their ridicu­lous attempts to squeeze large feet into the tiny glass slip­per. Ella, on the oth­er hand, is depict­ed as a down-to-earth pump­kin farmer who soon finds true love with anoth­er like-mind­ed farmer. The two women (yaaas!) mar­ry and move to a small farm, where they grow spec­tac­u­lar pump­kins, in a tru­ly sat­is­fy­ing fairy-tale end­ing. Hop­kin­son’s enhanced retelling even adds a small pourquoi tale: “And that, dear read­ers, is the sto­ry of how fairy­tale pump­kins got their name.” Sor­ry, Prince Charm­ing, this revi­sion­ist tale ends quite hap­pi­ly with­out you.” (The Horn Book)

author, Deb­o­rah Hop­kin­son
illus­tra­tor, Paul O. Zelin­sky
Anne Schwartz Books
Pen­guin Ran­dom House
ages 4 and up, 2023
ISBN 978–0593480038

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