Grimmtastic Girls #1: Cinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub
I read it as a: paperback
Source: daughter’s personal collection
Length: 192 pp
Thoughts: In this introductory book to the Grimmtastic Girls series, we get to learn about the Grimm Academy, where characters from fairy tales and folklore go to school. Cinderella (call her Cinda) is just starting her first year at the Academy, having been too poor to afford tuition before now. Her mean “Steps” have attended the Academy since first grade. Cinda is quick to learn the ropes but there are so many rules and new ways of doing things that she never would have expected. This retelling of “Cinderella” sticks to the main plot points of the original tale, but includes new twists like a secret society that her stepsisters are involved with, a magical mystery, and a sentient wand instead of a fairy godmother.
This series seems like a fun way to teach younger readers about various characters from literature in a setting that is not as stuffy as some of the original fairy tales themselves. This particular book highlights themes such as perseverance, being brave in new surroundings, and making new friends. As with Holub’s other series, I appreciate the diversity shown in the characters, but there is still too much emphasis placed on who has a crush on whom, and on getting a crush on someone. Also, if romance is going to be a feature, I really think less time needs to be spent on gender norming and heteronormative social constructs. If fairy tales are going to be rewritten for the 21st century, then include characters in the LGBTQ community as well as the characters of color.