Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cinderellas from around the World (part 2)

Yesterday I told you about four  international versions of Cinderella written by Shirley Climo.  As promised, today I have more Cinderellas from around the world and these are by all different authors and illustrators.  They are completely different than the books I shared yesterday and  equally as intriguing!  A fairy tale truly is an enjoyable and engaging way to learn about another culture!

Raisel's Riddle by Erica Silverman is a Jewish version of Cinderella set in Poland. Raisel, our Cinderella, was raised and taught much by her wise grandfather. After his passing she is loved and cared for by the people of her village but she doesn't want to burden them so she seeks out work in whatever (miserable) circumstance it's available.  I love that fact that in this version, the prince (a Rabbi's son) is most intrigued by her knowledge and searches for the woman who told him a most thought provoking and clever riddle.  Oh, and possibly my favorite part? She only agrees to marry him if he can answer the riddle.

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China retold by Ai-Ling Louie is captivating and a bit more brutal than the others I've written about (there's more death.) In this story Yeh-Shen (Cinderella) flees the feast not because of the time, but because she is in fact recognized by her step sister.  And, though she does lose a slipper in this version, she secretly retrieves it late a night, not knowing of the king's careful watch on the shoe.   One thing that fascinated me about this version was how well the story and the art worked together. This tale has an underlying theme revolving around a fish and, thoughtfully so, each illustration somehow forms the body of a fish.

The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece is by Anthony Manna. According to this story, people in Greece say, "A child becomes an orphan when she loses her mother." So while her father is alive throughout the book, our Cinderella is referred to as the orphan the whole time.  We never learn her name. In this book the orphan hears her mother's voice when she needs guidance, and receives gifts from Mother Nature.  The orphan first wows the prince with her beauty when he visits the village church services.  Unable to meet her on his first Sunday visit, he returns to the village again, but knowing the beauty will be the first to leave the church, he has his guards pour a sticky trap of wax and honey over the threshold of the church.  Wouldn't you know it, she gets away...except for one slipper of course.

The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin is a Native American version of Cinderella.  I remember reading, or at least hearing this story when I was younger, though it may have been retold by another author back then.  The prince in this story is a great Invisible Being and while many women want to marry him, they must prove to his sister that they have seen him.  Our Cinderella, the Rough Face Girl, does not have beautiful and expensive clothing to wear when she goes to see the sister of the Invisible Being, but she knows she must try to marry him because, as she tells her father, 'wherever I look, I see his face.' This version doesn't have all the pomp and glitziness of a typical Cinderella, but there is something so humble and almost poignant about it.

Of all the international Cinderellas I've talked about, Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by  Robert D. San Souci comes the closest to the traditional version. And, I was wrong yesterday, this one even has a ball.  The lovely and different part about this story is that it is told through the eyes of Cendrillon's godmother, who also happens to have the chance to act as her 'fairy godmother.' I like this version because our Cinderella wants to make certain that her 'prince' loves the real her, and not just the gussied up version. The illustration there on the bottom right hand side of the frame, that's my favorite from this book. It's when he's putting the shoe on her and looking at the real her, it's just perfect!

Well my friends, that wraps up the international Cinderella stories... for now.  Honestly, I'm a little obsessed with these at the moment so I'm on the look out for more versions from more countries.  If I come across any, you'll be the first ones to know!

Happy reading! 


No comments:

Post a Comment

Oh how we love comments! And, we are vigilant about replying. So, share, share, share, we love to hear what you think!