Spooky Spoof: Cinderella Skeleton by Robert San Souci
Was everything a ghoul should be.
Her build was long and lank,
Her darkish hair hung down in hanks.
Her nails were yellow; her teeth were green--
The ghastliest haunt you've ever seen.
Foulest in the land was she.
Robert D. San Souci, who gave us a richly folkloric Caldecott Honor version of the Cinderella story, The Talking Eggs, has taken a frightfully delightful, tongue-in-cheek turn on the popular leitmotif in his grisly but giggle-provoking Cinderella Skeleton.
Cinderella Skeleton, of Boneyard Acres, is stuck with all the chores around the mausoleum, hanging cobwebs and tending the bats, while her evil step-mother Skreech and the two slothful step-sisters Gristlene and Bony-Jane primp themselves up for a turn at Prince Charnel's Halloween Ball. A resilient wraith, Cinderella Skeleton takes matters into her own bony hands, recruiting the services of a a good witch who decks her out for the ball, complete with special slippers and a jack o'-lantern turned into a hearse to get her there. With a warning to be home before dawn, the witch sends her off to the Halloween happening.
There, Cinderella Skeleton becomes Prince Charnel's favorite partner, but at the first glow of dawn, Cinderella remembers she must flee, and, tripping on the paving stones, leaves not just her slipper but her entire foot (still in its shoe) behind for Charnel to find. As you might guess, the Prince finally shows up at the Boneyard Acres mausoleum with the skeletal foot-in-slipper in hand. Mama Skreech, eager for one of her daughters to score a monarchical match, with a practical "wire or glue; you're good as new" snaps off a foot from each girl, but only Cinderella Skeleton's leg bone is a match. In the best fairy tale tradition, the two smitten spooks are wed and live happily ever after in a kingdom filled with unlikely love and laughter.
For older kids cloyed with dewy-eyed Disney-style Cinderellas, Robert San Souci's quirky rhyming text and David Catrow's complex, comic illustrations will keep readers in stitches--enough to make Frankenstein himself green with envy.