Prince Cinders is another cheeky, irreverent picture book by Babette Cole, author of the popular Princess Smartypants. It's a fun take on the classic Cinderella story. Poor Prince Cinders wants to go out to the disco but is forced instead to stay at home and clean up after his three big hairy brothers who mock him for being weak and skinny.
One evening a fairy appears to the young prince and tries to magically make his dreams come true. It doesn't go entirely to plan, and Prince Cinders finds himself transformed into a huge monkey, who is unable to attend the disco because he can't get through the door. Fortunately, when he changes back the beautiful Princess Lovelypenny thinks he has chased off the monkey and saved her from it. The shy prince runs off, leaving his trousers behind, so the princess calls for all the princes in the land to come and try them on. Prince Cinders proves his identity and marries the princess and the fairy gives the three big hairy brothers their comeuppance.
My daughter liked the simple story and I love the illustrations of the awkward, skinny prince and his hairy brothers.
This book could be used to start a discussion with your child about masculinity, beginning with simple things like whether you need to be big and hairy to be a man and whether doing housework makes you any less of one. Many of Babette Cole's books have the same refreshing take on traditional gender roles. Some of them also feature nudity, which there is none of in this book.