The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder

Published by Farrar Straus Giroux

 

Summary:  In this twist of the traditional Cinderella tale, Prince Char is the rat prince of all those rodents who live in Lancastyr Manor.  Tough times have arrived at the manor, in the person of the wicked stepmother, and Lady Rose has been reduced to little more than a house servant nicknamed Cinderella.  Prince Char is determined to defeat the evil Wilhemina, and when an ancient goddess is released from an heirloom Lancastyr ring, it looks like it may be possible.  Char is transformed into Charming, one of Rose’s footmen, and it doesn’t take long for him and Rose to fall in love, despite their knowledge that he will turn back into a rat at midnight.  Together, they travel to the great ball, where they must deal with both Wilhemina and the evil prince Geoffrey, who is seeking to make Rose his queen.  Told in the alternating voices of Char and Rose, the night progresses with plenty of twists and turns until the two of them are able to arrive at happily ever after.  272 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  In this unusual take on Cinderella, Hodder manages to pull off what would seem impossible to believe.  Both Char and Rose are strong, likeable characters, and there is plenty of action to keep the pages turning.

Cons:  The somewhat sticky-sweet romance may turn a few young stomachs.

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