"Heroes come in many guises."
The Rat Prince
by Bridget Hodder
published by Farrar Straus Giroux
publishes August 23. 2016
This is the tagline for Bridget Hodder's debut novel, The Rat Prince. A Cinderella story, but with new heroes, new twist, new point of view.
What happens in so many retellings is it ends up being the same story with small changes. While I believe there are some parts that cannot be changed, I love finding books that feel fresh and new. It's an "old" story with familiar pieces but lots of new spins!
Told in alternating chapters between the Rat Prince, Char, and Cinderella, or Lady Rose, we learn that, like in the regular story, Cinderella has been demoted to a scullery girl while her evil stepmother rules the castle. However, their are new surprises with both Cinderella's family and the stepmother's daughters. Sides have been drawn - the other service people in the house, down to the rats, have taken sides. But that's not all - the prince is not the prince of the storybooks. You'll find yourself rooting for a new prince and wondering how Hodder will tie everything together! What I loved was there was a piece of folklore that seemed to come from Eastern folklore. It brought a new element to the storyline.
Don't be fooled by the cover! I love the regal colors, it's gorgeous, but while I think a mature 3rd grade reader could take it on, it does have rich language that is indicative of an older time period. I think this book would fit well in a 4th-6th grade classroom/library, with outreach to 3rd and 7th grade.
Happy "new" reading!
The Prince of the Rats is changed into Cinderella's coachman on the night of the big ball. Now he and Cinderella must work together to vanquish her wicked stepmother and save the Kingdom of Angland from a terrible threat. With courage, heart, and a dash of magic, can they also find a happy ending? The spell ends at midnight, and the clock is ticking...