Cinderella Stories Around the World
Carolina Farías, Valentina Belloni, Polona Kosec and Eva Montanari
Picture Window Books, 2015
hbk., 32pp., RRP $A16.95
It is said that every major culture in the world, with the exception of the Australian Aboriginal Peoples, has a version of Cinderella in the traditional storytelling collection. In this book, Cari Meister brings together four of these – the traditional Cinderella that most children know from French writer Charles Perrault; Little Burnt Face from the Micmac tribe of North America; Yeh-Shen from China; and Rhodopis from Ancient Egypt. Each story is illustrated by a different artist with each style being unique and bringing something different to the words.
An internet search for “Cinderella stories” brings up many hits demonstrating the popularity of this story as a vehicle for investigating stories and cultures from afar and it provides a fascinating insight into how the basic premise of the story we know so well and the lessons it teaches has been interpreted across countries and throughout time.
This is part of a series of books that view popular fairy tales through a multicultural lens- the others being Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Rapunzel – that provides a different entry point for students to not only study other cultures but also the fairy tale genre. What does the left-behind glass slipper become in Ancient Egypt and whose fairy godmother is a fish? What are the common threads that link the stories, and given that fairy tales were first shared as didactic stories, what is the universal message that elders want the youngsters to know?
There is scope to use this book across the school.