BOOKLIST review of The More the Merrier!


Cinderella is back and as irrepressible as ever. The third-grade spelling bee is next week, and the winner gets to plan a class party, so she and BFF Erin spend a lot of free time quizzing each other. Cinderella’s parents have gone out of town, so Aunt Flora—a dental hygienist who drives an Opel GT nicknamed the Flying Machine—has come to babysit. Nemesis Rosemary has decided that Cinderella’s love of skipping and her inability to keep both shoes on her feet make her a baby, so the insults fly, but Cinderella learns to ignore the jibes. The sequel to Cinderella Smith (2011) has a retro feel—teachers wait with students for carpool, the girls walk to school—that still melds easily with contemporary problems like bullying and tests. Goode’s illustrations capture both the tension between Cinderella and Rosemary, and the delights of the everyday that Cinderella still revels in. A simple joy of a book, Barden’s story has given third-graders their very own hero whose final decision of inclusiveness is warming.