I love retellings of fairy tales, myths, and other familiar stories. By mixing well-known plot elements with a new setting, genre, or perspective, an author gives us a story that is both comfortingly recognizable and surprising.
My favorite type of retelling is the “inside scoop” variety. The story that tells you what really happened.
So I was intrigued by the opening of The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder:
“When you hear the tale of Cinderella, do you ever wonder about the rats who were turned into coachmen by her fairy godmother?… Now settle yourselves in comfort, and be sure you’ve plenty of provisions upon which to nibble, for you are about to hear the true story from Cinderella herself… and from me. My name is Char. In former days, they called me the Rat Prince.”
Larrabee will be the first to admit that he’s no expert on Cinderella. He’s seen the Disney movie, of course. And he loved Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine this summer–although he was well into the book before he realized it was a Cinderella story. Recently, his 2nd grade class read two very different Cinderella stories–Trollerella by Karen Stegman-Bourgeois and Bubba, the Cowboy Prince by Helen Ketteman.
He agreed to read The Rat Prince with me, and we both enjoyed it. Prince Char of the Northern Rat Realm is an excellent addition to the story–and a worthy hero. Who knew that the rats in the castle were such interesting characters?