Review Blog

Feb 18 2015

Cinderella: stories around the world, retold by Cari Meister

cover image

Picture Window books, 2015. ISBN 9781479554492
(Age: 5+) Cinderella. Fairy tales. Four of the world's store of stories about Cinderella will be a good read aloud for younger readers. The stories include a French version of Cinderella, a Canadian story called Little Burnt Face from the Micmac tribe, Yeh-Shen a Chinese Cinderella tale and Rhodopis, an Egyptian Cinderella story.
Each of the girls is poor, the lowest ranked child in the house, cleaning and sweeping for her board and lodging. There is always a prince looking for his true love, a ball or test, a slipper and finally a wedding. All four are astonishingly similar from such disparate parts of the world.
Read aloud and discussed with a class looking at fairy tales, these four will provide a basic understanding of the Cinderella motif, and give a wider view of the story.
I love the Grimm Brothers version and this would be a great contrast to the sweeter offerings here.
The French version is very similar to the well known version, paralleling the Disney film from 1950. The Canadian version of the girl whose face is burnt by her stepsisters surprised me, as it brings in the degree of cruelty offered in the version by the Brothers Grimm. Rhodopis certainly adds another flavour to the tale, as it is set in Egypt and Yu-Shen will intrigue those readers with its different setting and names.
The illustrations presented by four different artists reflect a Disney style common amongst books for this age group, although the illustrator for Little Burnt Face, Carolina Farias has attempted to emulate the stylised drawing techniques of North American groups and her illustrations present a different view.
This is one of a series of books comparing different fairy stories around the world.
Fran Knight

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