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BOOK REVIEW: Cinderella Stories Around the World by Cari Meister

BOOK REVIEW: Cinderella Stories Around the World by Cari Meister 

Picture Window Books
February 2015
Hardcover, $16.95
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

8/10

cinderella

 

What is a Fairy Tale?

Once upon a time, before the age of books, people gathered to tell stories. They told tales of fairies and magic, princes and witches. Ideas of love, jealousy, kindness, and luck filled the stories. Some provided lessons. Others just entertained. Most did both! These fairy tales passed from neighbor to neighbor, village to village, land to land. As the stories spun across the seas and over mountains, details changed to fit each culture. A poisoned slipper became a poisoned ring. A king became a sultan. A wolf became a tiger.

Over time, fairy tales were collected and written down. Around the world today, people of all ages love to read or hear these timeless stories. For many years to come, fair tales will continue to live happily ever after in our imaginations. 

 

These books are a great addition to the library of any collector of fairy tales, anyone who has ever enjoyed remakes of the old classic, and a fantastic introduction for anyone who doesn’t know the stories already.

 

In this collection of Cinderella tales from around the world, we are offered the classic French version of the tale we all know and love, a version told by the Micmac Tribe of North America, the Chinese version, and the Egyptian version.

It’s interesting to see what changes happen from story to story:

– There’s the one in which Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters are cruel and treat her poorly, as a servant more than family.

– The one in which Little Burnt Face’s own sisters treat her cruelly, and the eldest burns her with hot coals each day while their widower father is out hunting.

– The one in which Yeh-Shen has only one stepsister, and her best friend is a fish. In this story, the loss of one of her slippers means she will never see the fish again.

– And the one in which Rhodopis was kidnapped by pirates, sold as a slave, and treated poorly by all the other servant girls in the house.

 

The different styles of illustration from story to story are just as interesting as the differences in the stories themselves. While there is a glossary at the back of each collection, this does mean this collection will likely have to be read to the younger readers, but could also help with increasing their vocabulary. There are also questions at the end, to encourage readers to really think about the tale, and information on some other Cinderella stories for further reading.

 

Next time you’re after a book about Cinderella for book week, as a gift, or just wanting to brush up on your fairy tales, definitely give this one a go.

My only complaint was that, in trying to fit four stories into 32 pages, they were somewhat rushed. I would have liked to stay a little longer within these tales. 

 

BOOK REVIEW: Cinderella Stories Around the World by Cari Meister

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