Kirkus Reviews QR Code
LITTLE GOLD STAR by Robert D. San Souci

LITTLE GOLD STAR

A Spanish American Cinderella Tale

By Robert D. San Souci (Author) , Sergio Martinez (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-14780-1
Publisher: HarperCollins

This tender version of the Cinderella story comes from the American Southwest. A widow and her two daughters pressure the shepherd Tomás into marriage, and while he spends more and more time with the flocks, his daughter Teresa gets more and more of the chores. When Tomás brings Teresa the gift of a lamb, her stepmother kills it and orders her to wash the fleece. A fish steals the fleece, but Blessed Mary appears to her, and asks her to care for Joseph and the Child for a day. Teresa is rewarded for her kindness by the return of the fleece, and the Virgin touches her forehead so a gold star appears there. When Teresa returns home, the stepsisters are fierce with jealousy, mocking her with the name Estrellita de Oro (Little Gold Star), but when each of them in turn tries for the fleece and the gold star, they fail the kindness test and get horns and donkey’s ears instead. Still, when Don Miguel gives a fine party, the sisters vie for his attention, mantillas over their protuberances. As is to be expected he has eyes only for Teresa, who is then sent home by her stepmother. Don Miguel finds her through the offices of their cat, but the stepmother sets three impossible tasks for Teresa before she will give permission for the marriage. Mary blesses Teresa again, the tasks completed, Teresa and Don Miguel marry, and even the stepsisters learn kindness until their donkey ears and horns disappear. There’s a wonderful translucence to Martínez’s watercolors: light seems to shine through the roses in the Virgin’s path, the candles at Don Miguel’s, even the stepsisters’ black lace mantillas. Little Gold Star has a lovely face, and the stepmother and sisters are properly grumpy. In a year full of Cinderella variations, this one is a welcome addition. (Fairy tale. 6-9)