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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella by Paul Fleischman
Illustrated by Julie Paschkis

This is an interesting version of the traditional Cinderella story. The story starts out with a mother and daughter reading the Cinderella story. Each page represents a different culture. Each page has a passage from the story, in that culture's interpretation, a picture from their culture, and the background of the pages are full of color and images that represent that culture.

Some pages have more than one culture on a page and this is to show where the cultures differ in their interpretation of the story. For example, when Cinderella is tending the cattle and she is hungry, the other characters respond in different ways. In Russia, "the animal poured honey for her from its horn", in Iran, "a fairy gave her figs and apricots", and in India, "Godfather Snake gave her rice." When I read this part I was surprised because I don't remember a part of the story that went like this in the versions I've read and heard. I enjoyed the part of the story where the different shoes Cinderella had were described. In France, she had glass slippers, in India, she had diamond anklets, and in Iraq, she had sandals of gold. On the last two page spread, many of the cultures are represented in the picture. They are all dancing and celebrating the wedding of Cinderella and the prince.

The illustrations in this book are beautiful and very colorful. The end papers were great with the map of the world and the different cultures represented marked. This was a great introduction to the worldwide part of the story. Many students may not know where these countries are, so to have a reference for them to look at, they get a better understanding. The map can be helpful with English Language Learners as well. If there culture is one of the ones represented, they can show where they are from on the map and they will identify better with the story.

The first and last pages, when the mother and daughter are reading, are framed in white. This represents that they are reading this book as neutral observers and they're not a part of the rich cultures that are included in this book. I think once they get to the last page and the mother and daughter are in a circle, that they're more culturally aware and that is supposed to represent a globe of some sort. The complete distortion of North and South America on the globe in the first picture was a little surprising to me. It's not even close to being accurate. I assume that maybe the mother and daughter in the picture are from that area of the world. Maybe that is why those cultures are not represented as much in the book.

One problem I had with this book is that a lot of cultures are not represented. There is one culture from the United States. Only one Spanish speaking country was represented. I'm surprised nothing from Spain or the entire South American continent. Australia also did not have any representation and there was very limited representation from Africa. The majority of the cultures represented were European and Asian.

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