From the title page where the word “fractioned” is substituted for the more-common “fractured” to describe the fairy tale story, the reader knows that “Twinderella” by Corey Rosen Schwartz is not your garden variety fairy tale.
There are two red-headed girls running down the steps leaving behind one glass slipper. And as the readers learn, Cinderella had a twin sister, Tinderella, who shared her miserable life. And because there were two of them, everything they had to do and everything they had was divided in half.
“They’d each do: Half the mopping, half the raking, half the shopping, chopping, baking. Half the folding, half the mending, half the mean stepsister tending.”
Schwartz is a genius at word-smithing and finding perfect rhyming language that reads beautifully out loud. And this picture book, like the other fractured or fractioned fairy tales she’s written, begs to be performed for an audience — even an audience of one small child.
A second grade class was enchanted with the story and proclaimed that it deserved “5 stars.” The students loved that Cinderella had a twin, and they loved the creative solution to the math-loving Tinderella’s problem.
Schwartz loves strong female main characters. In “The Three Ninja Pigs,” the third pig who saves the first two brothers’ “bacon” is their sister, who has worked hard at her ninja studies, unlike her lazy brothers. Here, Cinderella desperately wants to marry a prince, but Tinderella loves to do math. She loves the dividing, and when the prince can’t decide which twin to marry, it’s Tinderella who comes up with the solution.
Illustrator Deborah Marcero cleverly plays up the math-loving twin in the illustrations, showing fractions and areas of their bed (they each have 1/2 of their shared bed). And while Cinderella and the prince rule the kingdom, Tinderella lives happily ever after as well, although because this is a spoiler-free review, you’ll have to read the book to find out how.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover picture book provided by Putnam, the publisher, for review purposes.