Cinderella Smith: The Super Secret Mystery begins with Cinderella’s third grade class on the bus headed the zoo for a field trip. Cinderella and her classmates are excellent representations of children in that age group with their quirks and unique ways of seeing and experiencing the world around them.
The class project assigned after their visit to the zoo is for each student to do a presentation on an endangered animal of their choice. Cinderella is excited about her choice of the ocelot and even more so by the informal consensus to keep their choices secret until the day of the presentations. She is determined to shock and amaze the class with her presentation. Unfortunately, all of the books on ocelots in the school library have been checked out so she is forced to wait.
She waits as patiently as a third grader can until the day they are due back. She rushes to the library only to find they have already been checked out again! This is beginning to look suspicious and The Rosemarys are high on the list of suspects. Rosemary T. used to be Cinderella’s friend but, as Cinderella says, “not so much anymore,” which is clearly true based on the insults and mean comments.
Cinderella, her friend Erin and the rest of The Group in Cahoots set out to find what is going on and who is behind this attempt to ruin Cinderella’s presentation. How did anyone even know her secret animal was the ocelot? With some super sleuthing, an anonymous clue and an “AHA!” moment, things come together at the end with all of the shock and awe Cinderella had hoped for. And maybe, just maybe, Rosemary T. might just be okay after all.
Barden’s portrayal of the third grade social world is right on the mark. Young readers will relate to and be charmed by Cinderella. She is a delightful central character for this series of chapter books appropriately geared for readers of age six to ten. With a knack for things like losing her shoes (sometimes even when she is wearing them) and a clever talent for creating ‘very extremely excellent’ words when nothing else quite fits, Cinderella is a bright, creative and spunky young girl. You might even say she is vexylent!
Kathie is a writer, wife, mother and volunteer living in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. Her passion for the written word is fulfilled by creating her own fictional work, freelancing, acting as an adviser to another author, and reading with her six year old daughter.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperCollins. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.