Once upon a time, there was a sweet cowgirl named Cindy Ellen, who lived with the orneriest stepmother west of the Mississippi and two stepsisters who were so nasty, they made rattlesnakes look nice! But when a fast-talkin' fairy godmother teaches Cindy Ellen a little lesson about gumption, Cindy lassos first place at the rodeo and the heart of Joe Prince....
You may think you've heard the story before-but you'll get a side-splittin' bellyache after you're through with this hilarious rendition told Wild West-style!
If there's one thing the traditional fairy-tale Cinderella is lacking, it's some rip-snortin', gravel-in-the-gizzard gumption. And until her Wild West counterpart, Cindy Ellen, meets her own fairy godmother, she too is sorely deficient in the grit and guts department, even if she is a durn good cowgirl. Cindy Ellen's meaner-than-a-rattlesnake stepmother bullies her into doing all the dirty work on the ranch and forbids her to attend the biggest event of the season, a rodeo and square dance. Enter her spur-jangling, gun-firing, no-nonsense fairy godmother: "Magic is plumb worthless without gumption.... Stop that tomfool blubbering, and let's get busy." And just like that, Cindy is outfitted in the "finest riding clothes west of the East," including a pair of diamond-studded spurs. You can guess the rest. It involves six cactus mice transformed into six dappled horses, a lost diamond spur, and a rodeo champion by the name of Joe Prince.
Simply put, Cindy Ellen is a riot. Joined with Jane Manning's over-the-top illustrations, this sidesplitting retelling of a classic will keep young buckaroos in stitches. Susan Lowell has enchanted readers with several earlier Wild West remakes, including The Bootmaker and the Elves and The Three Little Javelinas. (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter