Friday, March 28, 2008

Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella

Author: San Souci, Robert D.
Illustrator: Pinkney, Brian
Publisher and Date: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1998
Genre: Picture Book, Traditional Tale, Multicultural
Age Range: K-3

Summary: In this Caribbean version of Cinderella, the story is told from the godmother's perspective. Cendrillon's mother passes away after giving birth to her. Her father married again, but this lady did not have any other daughters. Together they had one other girl whose name was Vitaline. Madame (her step mother) of course works Cendrillon like she is a servant girl and favors her own daughter over her. Cendrillon's godmother helps her get to the ball, changing breadfruit into a carriage, agoutis into horses, lizards into footmen, and a a manicou into a coachman. She meets Paul (Monsier Thibault's son) and danced with him until she had to return home by midnight. Paul came searching for her after the ball with the slipper she left behind and found her after her sister Vitaline tried it on without success. Cendrillon and Paul were married soon after he found her.

Response: I really liked this version of Cinderella as well! I think I'm a sucker for any type of fairytale, no matter what culture or story it tells! I thought it was so clever to tell the story from the perspective of the godmother, who was a poor washerwoman who scrubbed other people's sheets and shirts. There wasn't anything 'magical' about her except for the mahogany wand her mother left her when she passed away. Three taps of it could change one thing to another but the magic was to be used to help someone you love.

The illustrations fit the book so well! They were created with scratchboard, luma dyes, gouache, and oil paints. I feel like Pinkney was able to create a very beachy feeling throughout the book. The use of vibrant colors in the clothing of the people reflected the culture. All of the curves in the illustrations and the beach elements such as palm trees and the ocean create an excitement and really allow the pictures to flow to one another.

Teaching Ideas: This story would be good as a multicultural lesson. After reading or discussing the traditional Cinderella tale, students could compare it to this one. A list of traditions or things that are specific to the Caribbean culture could be listed for the students for them to notice the differences in culture between the stories. Students could also create a Venn Diagram to show similarities and differences in the two stories.

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