Once upon a time, "there was a pet named Cinderella." She "lived in a cottage with her two stepsisters." Those kittens were so lazy that they never lifted a paw to help their sister. An invitation arrived in the mailbox one day, and it said that the prince was "on a special quest" in which he would choose his bride. Now the stepkittens were in a tizzy! They ordered Cinderkitty to to wash their whiskers, and blow dry their fur. So she did, because she was a very patient little cat. But when her stepsisters were fluffed to perfection, instead of thanking Cinderkitty, they just scampered away, running right through a mud puddle on their way to the palace. All Cinderkitty could do was to go home and get in bed. She curled up to sleep, and that's when she heard "a tap on the window". It was a beautiful butterfly! She told Cinderkitty, "I am your fairy godmother." and promised to help her get to the ball. And with "a shake of her magic wand" she made Cinderkitty clean, tied a pink bow to her tail, and put a jeweled collar around her neck. Then she warned her to be home by midnight, for that would be when Cinderella would "turn into a messy pup." When Cinderkitty got to the ball, she saw that everyone was dancing. The prince took look at her and asked her to dance. All night long, the two of them spun and danced. But when the clock struck twelve, Cinderkitty gave a yowl, and ran away before anyone could ask her name. The stepkittens spoke of nothing the next day but the prince, and they wondered who he would choose for his bride. They told Cinderella about a mysterious and beautiful cat who had been at the dance the night before. "Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. It was the prince!" He announced that he had followed the paw prints from his palace, and that they led to this cottage. Of course, as soon as the stepkittens saw him, they both started yelling that their feet would fit the prints. So the first one put her "tiny paw" next to the footprint. It was way too small. Then the other stepkitten put her pads in, but it was plain that her her paws were "much too big". Then Cinderkitty put her paddy paw over the print, and it fitted exactly! Then the prince put a glittering tiara on Cinderkitty's head, and the two of them lived happily ever after.
From Littlest Petshop Cinderella by Quinlan Lee and Prescott Hill. (Level 2 Reader, 250-750 words)
Notes: This story is sweet; I like the bit with the fairy butterfly, and also the fact that the prince tracks the kitty by her prints! Super commercial, with a product tie-in, and probably the kind of story that would set Peggy (Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture) Orenstein's hair on fire, but what the hey? If it helps kids read better, so be it. Let's get the boys reading this one too.
Montessori Elementary Connection: Biology/Animal Footprints/The Family of Cats
1. Read this story aloud to a younger child, or a classmate.
2. Notice how the prince finds Cinderella.
3. Learn about the different kinds of paw prints made by different kinds of cats:Peterson Field Guide to Animal Tracks: Third Edition or Whose Footprint Is That? (Animal Detectives) or Big Tracks, Little Tracks: Following Animal Prints (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 1)
4. With adult supervision, tempera paint, and a long roll of paper, dip your feet into the color and walk a couple of steps down the roll.
5. Now get a friend to do it.
6. Now compare your prints. Are they exactly the same?