Pachyderm Princess: Cinderelephant by Emma Dodd
ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A GIRL NAMED CINDERELEPHANT.
CINDERELEPHANT LIVED WITH HER TWO COUSINS, WHO WERE KNOWN AS THE WARTY SISTERS. THEY WERE HORRIBLE, MEAN, AND SMELLY.
Despite her imposing size, Cinderelephant is forced to serve as her cousins' handmaiden. To meet their specifications, she is forced to multitask as only an elephant can, mopping with one hand, cooking with the other, and deftly managing to do the ironing with her trunk, slaving thanklessly while the warthog girls lollygag and mindlessly loaf away the entire day.
But then an invitation arrives that focuses their minds wonderfully. Heir to the throne Prince Trunky, who finds his kingdom's eligible ladies a bit on the delicate side as dancing partners, is hosting a grand ball, with the clear objective of picking a presumably sturdy consort. Princess is the operant word of the hour, and despite their lack of pulchritude, the Warty girls proceed to primp up, hoping to trip the light fantastic with the Prince.
Cinderelephant is excited at the princessy prospects, too.
"IF THEY ARE INVITED ALL THE GIRLS," SAID CINDERELEPHANT, "PERHAPS THAT INCLUDES ME!"
"OF COURSE YOU WON'T BE GOING, CINDER-IRRELEVANT!" LAUGHED THE WARTY SISTERS.
But Cinderelephant has a resource her cousins know not of--her Furry Godmouse, who magically transforms her dull house dress and everyday shoes into glamorous gown and sparkly pumps and conjures up an appropriately commodious stretch limo as transport to the ball. Giddy, Cinderelephant, all dolled up for the dance, eagerly hoists her considerable posterior into the plush backseat of her ride.
"BUT, (AND IT WAS A BIG BUT," THE FAIRY GODMOUSE SAID (PUNNINGLY), "YOU MUST BE BACK BY MIDNIGHT."
It's a pleasantly predictable ending to Emma Dodd's latest, Cinderelephant (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013), as the hefty Trunky and his plus-sized princess are at last reunited over her missing pink pump in traditional style, and as Dodd puts it, "hugely happy ever after." The Cinderella motif is one of the most popular in literature, with its universal themes of orphanhood, sibling rivalry, romance, and the get-rich-quick drive. Author-illustrator Emma Dodd spoofs the bare bones of the old folktale, generously, er, fleshing them out visually while sticking close to the familiar plot, and her artwork, just a bit reminiscent of Babar and Queen Celeste, is as comically captivating as ever in this venture into the fractured fairy tale genre.