Guest Post: The Many Guises of Cinderella

This week’s delightful post is a reblog from our very own Education Faculty Library blog. https://edfaclib.wordpress.com/2018/07/23/the-many-guises-of-cinderella/

We wanted to shed some light on the delightful and varied versions of the Cinderella story that we hold in our Children’s Literature collection.  The historical fairy tale has held its appeal for over a thousand years across many different countries and cultures.

Maria Nikolajeva has generously donated many of the Cinderella titles we now hold in our collection, including these vibrant and beautifully illustrated publications by Shirley Climo and The Golden Sandal by Rebecca Hickox.

 

The Korean Cinderella

By Shirley Climo and illustrated by Ruth Heller

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This title can be found shelved in the Fairy Tales section of our Children’s Fiction collection at: CLIMO (silver label).

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This retelling is based on three Korean variations of the classic tale. The author notes that there are half a dozen versions that have been a firm favourite with Korean children for centuries.

In this story our humble heroine, Pear Blossom, is assisted by a frog, sparrows and a black ox to break free from her cruel step mother and step sisters torment.

Illustrator Ruth Keller visited Korea, which informed her colourful paintings in the book. Much of the designs are steeped in tradition and history that she gathered from research at museums, palaces and a replica three hundred year old village that she visited.

 

The Egyptian Cinderella

By Shirley Climo and illustrated by Ruth Heller

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This title can be found shelved in the Fairy Tales section of our Children’s Fiction collection at: CLIMO (silver label).

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Many claim this Egyptian tale of the Greek slave girl Rhodopis to be one of the worlds oldest Cinderella stories, which apparently was first recorded by the Greek historian Strabo in the first Century B.C. However, many argue that it did in fact originate from China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) in the story of Yeh Shen.

Historical facts aside, Shirley Climo has reworked the story beautifully and steeped it in captivating Egyptian mythology.  In this version Rhodopis’ fate is helped along by a thieving falcon that Climo chose instead of an eagle as it echoed the Egyptian sky god Horus.

 

The Irish Cinderlad

By Shirley Climo and illustrated by Loretta Krupinski

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This title can be found shelved in the Fairy Tales section of our Children’s Fiction collection at: CLIMO (silver label).

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Next we are taken to Ireland with a male protagonist, Becan, who must pass the shoe test with his unusually large feet. This reworking is mainly based on Irish folktales of The Braket Bull in Four Irish Stories (Dublin, 1898) by Douglas Hyde and Billy Beg and His Bull from Best Stories to Tell to Children (Cambridge, MA, 1905) by Sara Cone Bryant.

In this version our Cinderlad befriends a misunderstood, mystical bull. According to Climo, in Ireland of old it was believed that cattle originated from the sea and posessed unusual powers. Climo writes “In particular, a cow with a white face and red ears was considered an enchanted creature.”

 

The Golden Sandal

By Rebecca Hickox and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

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This title can be found shelved in the Fairy Tales section of our Children’s Fiction collection at: Hickox (silver label).

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Now our Cinderella journey takes us to Iraq with the story of The Golden Sandal. The central character of this Middle Eastern rendering is the unjustly treated Maha. The story contains all the familiar characters but with the unique element of a magical red fish whose life is spared by Maha.

Author Rebecca Hickox cites the Iraq story of The Little Red Fish and the Clog of Gold in Inea Bushnaq’s Arab Folktales (Pantheon, 1986) and a version from eastern Iran and western Afghanistan that appears in Cinderella: a casebook, edited by Alan Dundes (Wildman Press, 1983) as sources of inspiration.

 

Prince Cinders

By Babette Cole

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This title can be found shelved in the Fairy Tales section of our Children’s Fiction collection at: COLE (silver label).

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Finally, we wanted to mention the comical modern day Cinderella retelling of Prince Cinders. Forced into a life of servitude by his bullying, party animal brothers, Prince Cinders is somehow saved by a clumsy fairy that tries to make all of his wishes come true but accidently turns him into a big hairy gorilla.

Find all of these titles and more in our Fairy Tales section of the Children’s Fiction collection. We hope you enjoyed delving into our collection and keep an eye out for more posts about the hidden gems in our Library.

Explore the wonders of Children’s Literature Collections in Cambridge via the guide to Children’s Literature Collections at Cambridge.

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