Cinderella Update

Here are some further thoughts about Cinderella versions that we recently checked out of the library:

The Egyptian CinderellaThe Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I *loved* this book as a child–I think partly because it was my first introduction to the idea that fairy tales can have different versions. Reading it to my kids as an adult, I still enjoy the story and the pictures, and I think it’s interesting that Climo did some research and that the story apparently has some (small) basis in history.

BUT, I think that there are some racial overtones that I didn’t pick up on as a kid and that I don’t like. Rhodopis, the Cinderella figure, is described as “red” and “rosy” (hence her name), because she burns under the Egyptian sun, but she is essentially a white heroine with brown bad guys. I don’t think the book should be altogether avoided; after all, the Pharoah who she marries is also Egyptian. Still, the overall casting and the description of Rhodopis’ coloring as “the most Egyptian of all” at the end of the story is something readers should be aware of.

One good way to share this might be to do it as part of a group of Cinderella retellings (and I actually checked it out most recently because of my 2 year old daughter’s current obsession with all things Cinderella) and be sure to include some of the versions that don’t have a white Cinderella: Yeh-Shen, Cendrillon, or The Rough Face Girl, for example.

CinderellaCinderella by Barbara McClintock

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a nice retelling of Perrault, and I think was a good update from Marcia Brown’s similar retelling. The pictures, although they show the characters in 17th century clothes, do look more modern in the style of artwork.

(I am learning about WordPress, and having trouble getting any extra spaces I add to stay added…so here’s an extra line of text to make the pictures display correctly!)

Cendrillon: A Caribbean CinderellaCendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an enjoyable French Caribbean version of Cinderella, and it was largely unique because it was told from the point of view of the godmother (who is not a fairy, but does have a magic wand). I liked the cultural details included–especially how it didn’t have just a generic Caribbean setting, but was obviously one of the French Caribbean islands–and I liked how magic was shown to have a definite limit on how it could help. Brian Pinkney does the pictures, and they work wonderfully with the story.

(More extra text to keep WordPress happy.)
Cinderella/CenicientaCinderella/Cenicienta by Francesc Boada

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a fine retelling of Perrault, and the pictures, while not stellar, are engaging. However, as a bilingual book, I don’t think it’s fabulous. It’s of course very long to be read in both languages in one sitting; the main problem, though, is that Cinderella is still obviously European (and not Spanish or otherwise Mediterranean), and it doesn’t highlight or celebrate Latino culture in any meaningful way.

(And still more text…)
Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western CinderellaCindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella by Susan Lowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one more than I expected to–I’ve never been a huge western fan, but the cowgirl-themed Cinderella retelling was just fun.

View all my reviews
We also checked out
Cinder-EllyCinder-Elly by Frances Minters

the rap version listed in the previous Cinderella post, and I think the kids all took turns looking at it–but it was very long, and I never got around to reading it.


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