Cinderella, The Retelling. Or: Why I Should Never Write Children’s Books

“Mommy who is this on my diaper?”

“Well, that’s Cinderella. She’s a storybook character. A princess. They were out of Dora, sorry. “

“Read it to me.”

“Well, I don’t have the book.”

“Read it to me!”

“Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl named Cinderella who lived with some, um…her step…well some mean people. They made her do all kinds of cleaning up around the house. But wait, cleaning up isn’t bad. That’s not why they were mean. They were mean because they never helped her clean up. So she had to do all the dishes by herself. And sweep all the floors…”

“I like sweeping!”

“Yes, sweeping is fun. That’s right. But she didn’t like it. So anyway so she wanted to go to a big party called a ball…”

“A ball! I like balls”

“Right, but not a ball like you throw, a ball which means a big party. At the castle. But Cinderella didn’t have anything to wear so a magic fairy godmother came down and gave her a beautiful dress and cleaned up for her and then something about a mouse…and then she turned a pumpkin into a um…well, a carriage – do you know what that is? It’s like a cart with horses – so Cinderella could get to the ball. And then the prince fell in love with her. But she lost her shoe on the way home which was made out of glass for some stupid reason and then when the prince came to find her….oh wait, I forgot the part about how she had to leave really quickly before she told him her name. I don’t know why. So anyway she tried it on – the shoe, I mean – and it fit so he knew that she was the one he loved and they lived happily ever after in the castle…oh wait, something about midnight. Okay forget that. It’s not important. Okay so they lived happily ever after in the castle where they played all the time, and painted and did art together and read lots and lots of books.

Because smart, cool girls always like reading lots of books.

The end.

So, what do you think?”

“Can I watch a show?”


21 thoughts on “Cinderella, The Retelling. Or: Why I Should Never Write Children’s Books”

  1. Ha! I just told this story last night to my son. He wanted to know why they call a team that isn’t expected to win but does in the NCAA basketball tournament a “Cinderella team”. My version was similar to yours, but instead of playing up the strong-girl thing, I had to put in the “you only win with lots of hard work”, not b/c of some fairy godmother.

  2. Cinder Edna is a good version of this story to read together. Kind of demystifies it before they read the ‘original’ and get blinded by the light.

  3. Yesterday, to keep Thalia occupied while you were being photographed, I began telling her the story of Goldilocks and The Three Bears. Halfway through I realized two things: 1. I didn’t remember how it ended and 2. I didn’t like the idea of Goldilocks being chased away by the bears.“So, Thalia, when they found Goldilocks in the Little Bear’s bed they woke her up and told her how happy they were to see her and that they just ordered sushi and did she want some.”“I like sushi, too,” Thalia said. The end.

  4. I love the…and they did art together. Beware of the princesses. They take over, faster than you can blink. When I make the stories up, my princess always decides they don’t really want a prince and they party with their friends in his castle. I’m not so sure it’s any better than the regular story, but my nieces think it’s funny.

  5. oh, the fairy tails. i wish my mother would have kept them away from me.your version is quite good. what show did she want to watch?

  6. Who are you kidding – you could totally write children’s books – just re-write the classics with your sarcastic wit and trust me, they’ll fly off the shelves.

  7. Hmmm… hit the high points, that’s for sure. I do have a problem with the whole prince rescuing her from her evil step-family based on the size of her foot, but Corinne adores the gowns in the princess movies. Who am I to argue with that?

  8. Ha ha ha! I love doing the story telling because I get to editorialize about how they got to know each other and THEN fell in love and EVENTUALLY got married and that sort of thing, but being in my line of work, I have a pretty solid lock on the storylines. But I’ll tell you – our current fave version of Cinderella is cinderella Penguin, which is pretty straightforward and not all pink and fluffy.

  9. I retell all the classics too, except I go on and on about how the prince and whomever spent time together and loved the same books and the happily ever after part never comes until after she finishes college. But I like them reading and doing art together at the end, I’m definitely throwing that in next time. Have you ever read Princess Smartypants or The Paper Bag Princess? You can read those word for word.

  10. You lost Bossy at “shoe”. Hopefully they were metallic, and not nearly as sweaty as Bossy’s latest Skechers.

  11. Can you help me with Hansel and Gretel? My kids want the story and I can’t rid it of the gruesome parts! A horrible story, really.

  12. Yeah – Paper Bag Princess – good one, because at the end she tells the Prince (who is a total cad) that he looks like a prince, and something else about being like a prince, but isn’t really a prince because he’s only interested in her looks (this after she singlehandedly and very cleverly saves everyone from the fire-breathing dragon, but all her clothes were burned up first and she has to wear a huge paper bag, and is somewhat soot-ridden, and he calls her on “not looking like a princess” and not a word about defeating the dragon). Great story, check it out!

  13. Hi, I found you via stumbleupon. I like your blog and I think your version is better than the original 😉 I have a 9 month old girl and I’m not sure how to deal with the princess thing when it comes up. Thanks for giving me some ideas! Haha!

  14. We have a Strawberry Shortcake version where the main conceit is to say berry instead of very all throughout the book. Cinders desperately wants to look after the royal berry patch which is a euphemism if ever I heard one and all in all it is the biggest heap of shit I am forced to read on a regular basis. Grrrrrr.Also the princes in these things are such saps. Who in hell would fancy a fairy tale prince? I think, in all honesty, the answer to that is probably another fairy-tale prince, but they need a breeder for the royal line and the folks are putting the pressure on so a woman must be found.

  15. oh I feel so horrible that my kid knows not only the story by heart but the DISNEY version (gasp) and owns a “Cingrella” DRESS and a horrible awful necklace that says “Hello! I’m Cinderella” when she pushes a button. I’m off to read her that book of her Daddy’s about the trucker named Big Joe. And order that feminist version of the Gingerbread Man.

  16. I like your version. The “real” version is too gruesome, and the Disney version is too… well, Disney.I’m going to have to come up with some of my own versions of the fairy tales. You are inspiring me!

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