Cinda Meets Ella: A Fairly Queer Tale

Little, Brown. (Fairly Queer Tales: Bk. 2). May 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316628372.
PreS-Gr 3–After her parents are eaten by a gator (off-page), Cinda is forced to live with her aunt and wicked stepbrothers, off the ranch where she grew up. They take away her animals and force her to trade pants for skirts. However, when Ella del Reina, owner of a neighboring ranch, invites Cinda to a rodeo, her life changes for the better. The story takes the familiar elements of Cinderella, replacing the prince with a rodeo queen and giving the whole story a Southwest flavor. Cinda meets a talking boar named Merrie Hoggmüther, who introduces her to snake named Slipper. No glass shoes for these cowpokes. In the end, Cinda and Ella, who wears all black except for their pink cowboy boots, become friends. West’s text is a fun and frothy update that reimagines the story. His artwork pops, resembling Bethan Woolvin’s linework but with saturated color rich with pastel pinks and blues. His character design shines, each one cutting a unique silhouette, and all with brightly expressive eyes and mouths. West uses full spreads for effective dramatic emphasis. His text is expertly arranged on the page. Large blocks of text are separated on their own pages and framed with cute borders.
VERDICT A worthy update to a well-known tale,

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