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GLASS SLIPPER, GOLD SANDAL by Paul Fleischman Kirkus Star


A Worldwide Cinderella

by Paul Fleischman & illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Age Range: 4 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8050-7953-1
Publisher: Henry Holt

A gem of a book shines a light on the multifaceted Cinderella. The familiar tale begins in Mexico, continues in Korea, then Iraq, until 17 variants, from Appalachia to Zimbabwe, unfold the story in sequence. Thus, familiar motifs—glass slippers (France), lentils thrown in ashes (Germany)—share space with strikingly different ones: Godfather Snake (India), a breadfruit coach (the West Indies). Fleischman blends the different versions skillfully, adopting an Irish lilt here, an Appalachian twang there, pacing the telling brilliantly to accommodate the shifts in culture without sacrificing the tale’s narrative tension. Paschkis places brightly painted folk-art vignettes in panels against backdrops inspired by the textiles of the cultures represented. Her frame, of a mother and daughter reading the book together, ties the lush presentation up in a bow. Richly colored endpapers feature a map of the world, the regions where the tales originate indicated clearly. For anyone who ever thought they’d seen enough of Cinderella, here’s an offering that, in celebrating both its universality and specificity, makes the old tale new again. (Picture book/folklore. 4-10)