Tell the children you are going to read them a story about Cinderella’s neighbor Cinder Edna. Ask them to listen for the ways Cinder Edna and Cinderella are the same and different. Below are some questions about the story and suggested answers.
1. At the beginning of CINDER EDNA, Cinderella and Cinder Edna have the same problem. What is that problem?
Answer: They both live with a cruel stepmother and stepsisters. Both girls are forced to work hard cleaning and doing housework.
2. Cinderella and Cinder Edna handle their problems in different ways. What does Cinderella do?
Answer: She sits in the cinders to keep warm and worries about all her troubles.
3. What does Cinder Edna do?
Answer: She whistles and sings while she works. She does the best job she can by learning how to clean and how to cook tuna casserole sixteen different ways. She gets extra jobs to earn money. In other words, she tries to make her life better.
4. Both Cinderella and Cinder Edna want to go to the ball. How does Cinderella get what she wants?
Answer: She waits for a fairy godmother to help her. The fairy godmother uses magic to give Cinderella a beautiful dress, slippers, and a coach made from a pumpkin.
5. How does Cinder Edna get what she wants?
Answer: She saves her money to buy a dress. She finds a way to get to the castle without relying on a fairy godmother. (She takes the bus.)
6. Randolph and Rupert, the two princes, are also very different. Randolph is boring and not too smart. How does the author show this?
Answer: Randolph keeps turning his head so Cinder Edna can see his profile thinking that will impress her. Randolph doesn’t have a real job. He tells Cinder Edna that his only duties are to sit on the throne looking brave and wise. Later on, he forgets to get Cinderella’s name and comes up with a not-so-good idea to find her again. Then he rushes off to get his "beauty" sleep.
7. How is Prince Rupert different from Prince Randolph?
Answer: Rupert has a useful job–he runs the recycling plant and takes care of orphaned kittens. He also plays a musical instrument and likes to tell jokes.
8. What do you think will happen to Cinderella? Will she have a happy marriage? Why or why not?
Answer--Teachers should accept all answers. But some points that might be brought out are: Cinderella and Randolph don’t have many things they like to do together. Cinderella will have to go to many boring meetings, parades, and ceremonies.
9. Do you think Cinder Edna will have a happy marriage? Why?
Answer: She and Rupert both like to recycle, cook, make music, and take care of animals. They have many interesting activities they both enjoy.
10. Kevin O’Malley has used the illustrations to show us more about Cinderella, Cinder Edna, Randolph, and Rupert. Look at the picture that shows the marriage ceremony.
Question: What are each of the two couples doing? Can you tell what's important to each of them?
Answer: Randolph is looking in the mirror admiring himself. Cinderella is fixing her make up. Cinder Edna and Rupert are paying attention to the ceremony.
Question: How are the two brides dressed differently?
Answer: Cinderella has on lots of jewelry and a tiny crown. Cinder Edna is dressed in a simple dress with a garland of flowers in her hair.
11. Cinder Edna and Rupert have decided to write a book together. How do we know this?
Answer: You'll find a picture of the book they wrote together on the front flap of the book jacket.
12. Are stepmothers always wicked? Do you know any nice stepmothers?
13. If you could give advice to Cinder Edna, what would that advice be?
14. Cinderella is a fairy tale. Can you name other fairy tales? How can you tell when you hear a story that it's a fairy tale?
Answer: (Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, etc.) Fairy tales often begin with the words Once upon a time... and end with They lived happily ever after. A fairy tale is often about princesses, queens, kings, etc. Fairy tales often tell about something magical.
Questions for Older Readers:
1. Cinder Edna takes place in recent times. By reading the text and looking at the illustrations, can you guess the exact period of time in which the story takes place?
Answer: Ths story takes place in the 1970's. You'll see many hints of this. Note Cinder Edna’s hairdo, the clothing styles, the peace symbol around Cinder Edna’s neck, the names of the dances Cinder Edna and Rupert do at the ball, etc.
2. How does Kevin O’Malley add humor to this story?
Answer: Look at the book titles. Some are quite funny. We are told that Cinder Edna doesn’t believe in fairy godmothers, but who’s flying by (on her way to Cinderella’s house) as Cinder Edna’s stepsisters get ready for the ball?
Question: Prince Randolph and Prince Rupert live in a castle that actually exists. Can you guess the name of this castle? You’ll find a hint in one of the pictures.
Answer: It's Hearst Castle. Note the sign that says "San Simeon," the town where the Hearst Castle is located. The original publisher of CINDER EDNA was Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, a company owned by the Hearst Corporation.
Exercise: Make up a story entitled: CINDER EDNA–THE NEXT GENERATION. What will happen to Cinderella’s children? What will happen to Cinder Edna’s children? You can send your story to Ellen Jackson, and she’ll read it and write back to you.