Monday, September 29, 2008

Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella (Genre 2-Traditional Literature)

Johnston, Tony. 1998. Bigfoot Cinderrrrrella. Ill. by James Warhola. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons. ISBN 0-399-23021-1.
Plot Summary
This is very much the traditional Cinderella story but with some twists. Most of the story follows the traditional plot: a dashing prince in need of a wife, a kind girl who lives with her mean stepmother and stepsisters, a party to which everyone was invited but the girl is left behind, a fairy makes it possible for the girl to go, the girl wins the prince's heart and after a search through the countryside, they live happily ever after. The story strays from the orginal through the characters (bigfoots instead of humans) and through it's unique view of beauty.
Critical Analysis
This is quite a fresh look at the traditional Cinderella story. The language can not necessarily be judged as smart though it is appropriate to the storyline and the characters of the story. The most endearing factor of the book is its setting and characters. These creative changes in the story not only provide a new twist to an old story, they also create a new subtle message in the story: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Sweaty, smelly, woodsy, hairy, big-footed ladies are not generally thought of as beautiful. This story however, teaches that what might not be beautiful to some can be a dream come true to others. Everyone is special to someone.

The illustations meld wonderfully with the text. They help create the forest world of the Bigfoot creatures - a world never seen by humans. The artist captured the loving or hateful dispositions of the creatures and truly supported the text without the story.
Professional Review Excerpts
From Publishers Weekly What becomes a Bigfoot most? This silly twist on a favorite fairy tale clears up that question (and more) with humor and style. The Bigfoot prince is looking for a wife. But his perfect mate must meet some stringent criteria: she must be odoriferous, have lots of matted fur and be the kind of nature lover that never picks flowers. Finding such a catch isn't easy, so the prince throws a forest-wide fun-fest at which all the female Bigfeet can compete for him. Rrrrrella is a good candidate but her wicked stepsisters (who wear wildflowers in their well-groomed fur) won't let her attend. With help from her Beary Godfather, Rrrrrella wows the prince at the fun-fest and leaves a giant bark-clog in her wake. Johnston's (The Chizzywink and the Alamagoozlum) wacky fantasy stays true to the Cinderella story, and her fresh setting and funny, evocative details will keep kids laughing. Warhola's (Bubba the Cowboy Prince) giant woolly creatures sport prominent, snouty noses and grimy-toothed grins. They cavort with glee and exhibit enough recognizably human behavior to sustain the visual humor.

From School Library Journal This ultimate reversal of the Cinderella story stars a dashing, nature-loving Bigfoot prince who is "horrendously hairy." Of course, he is as "tall and dark as a Douglas fir" and women long for him. Nearby live a mother and her two puny, furless daughters who not only bathe (ugh!) but also throw rocks at spotted owls. They despise Rrrrrella, their woolly, huge stepsister with feet "like log canoes." When the prince gives the annual fun-fest, Rrrrrella, who is left behind, is helped by her "beary godfather." The rest is history. All of this takes place in the old-growth forest where the Prince protects the environment with his rules, "No pick flower. No pull tree," and protects himself with the last rule, "No kick royal family." The troll-like Bigfoot population lives joyfully among wild animals in a forest paradise. Large, bright paintings in greens, browns, and gold depict the large-nosed, big-toed heroine and her "odoriferous" love interest. All but two crowd scenes can easily be shared with a group. The book can be read alone, aloud, or used for storytelling. It's hilarious fun with a message for all ages.
~This story can be used to illustrate point of view by discussing how the various characters as well as we as readers view beauty.
~ This story can also be used in a study of the various Cinderella stories; how they are alike, different, reflective of culture, etc.

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