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Cinderella, Retold. (In a way that stepmothers will like…)

Cinderella, retold is a fresh take on the classic tale that we are all familiar with. In Banjo’s letter he reverses the negative stereotype of stepmothers, that pervades society.

A Letter from Banjo

Dear _____,

I’m writing from my friend Cinderella’s house. I’ve come for a restful holiday with her and her fabulous family, to put my paws up for a while – or at least, that was the plan. Instead, we’ve had the strangest adventure!

The night I arrived there was a fancy ball happening at the palace. Cinders hates that kind of thing, so we stayed behind, baking a cake and gossiping with the kitchen’s mice. Suddenly, there was a bang, and a fairy appeared!

“Cinderella!” she declared, “I am your fairy godmother!”

“Hello,” said Cinderella politely.

Poor Cinderella,” she cried, “You shall go to the ball.”

And before Cinders could explain that she would really rather finish icing her Victoria sponge, there was another BANG, and everything was different! She was in a sparkling dress; the sponge had become a carriage; the mice were horses; and I was a human footman! There was something definitely cattish about my face – you would have recognised me, I’m sure – but I stood on two feet, and wore a hat with a feather in it.

Cinderella wanted us all changed back at once, but that fairy was stubborn. She promised to undo the magic at midnight – if we went to the ball.

What else could we do? We went, and there we met a Prince, who thought Cinderella was lovely. She had to dance with him endlessly, and we only just managed to sprint away at midnight. We ran so fast she even lost a shoe.

And that wasn’t the end of the trouble…

The next day that Prince showed up. He was demanding that every woman try on Cinderella’s lost shoe, so he could find and marry his missing lady!

Well, Cinders’ family weren’t going to be pushed around by an uppity Prince. She has a stepmother and two stepsisters, and the four of them look out for each other. Cinders and I listened from the kitchen while they dealt with him.

“There’s no one else here,” her stepmother insisted.

“That’s a size five shoe,” said one stepsister, “Do you have any idea how many women that will fit?”

“Won’t you recognise her face?” said the other stepsister. “This is a really weird plan.”

“Look,” said the Prince, rattled, “I know she’s here. My fairy godmother told me.” (That interfering fairy!) “Perhaps her footman Mr Banjo could pass a message, if she’s out?”

Her stepmother smiled. “Banjo, you say? I’ll just get him.”

So with my footman’s hat on, I went out to meet the Prince. He could see at once that it really was me, and he turned as pale as my morning milk!

“So our Banjo was a footman, was he?” said Cinders’ step-mum. “Sounds like fairy magic! We have some rats in this house too – perhaps one of those is your missing lady…”

Well, at that, the Prince hurried away so fast that he lost a shoe!

One of the stepsisters picked it up. “Wow,” she said, “Who knew Princes had such stinky feet?”

After that he stayed away, and we had some peace at last – and some delicious Victoria sponge!

Your furry friend,


by Sylvia Bishop

For more stories about families and friendships, take a look at Sylvia’s other work:

The Bookshop Girl A small girl is abandoned in a bookshop, so the owners adopt her, and she becomes one of the family. But she is keeping an enormous secret – she can’t read! When they win the famous Montgomery Book Emporium in a raffle, all is not as it seems. Can she save her family, and keep her secret?

Erica’s Elephant Erica lives with her Uncle, but he’s been away on a bird-watching expedition for years now. When he sends her an elephant for her birthday, Erica finally has a friend. But will her friend be allowed to stay? And has she truly been alone – or has someone else been looking out for her?

A Sea of StoriesWhen Roo goes to stay with her Grandpa, she loves to hear the stories of his life, his friends, and her Grandma. But all his stories take place on a cove which he can no longer visit. Can she and his friends help change that? A touching story about the importance of sharing stories (colour illustrated).