Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella

Author:  Robert D. San Souci
Illustrator: Brian Pinkney
Published 1998

We have been reading folktales and fairy tales in my class over the last two weeks and I've read several versions of Cinderella.  I saved this one to read and write about because being from Puerto Rico, I thought it would be good for me to know the Caribbean version.  I had never heard of this before.

The story itself is not so different from the Cinderella stories we have all heard before.  There are a few difference though.  This story is told from the point of view of the godmother.  This is a real godmother, not the fairy kind.  I'm sure that being a godmother in this story is as important as being a godmother in Puerto Rico.  My god-daughter knows that I am here for her if anything happens, just as this godmother is for Cendrillon.  Unlike me, this godmother has a magic stick that her own mother gave to her right before she died.  The godmother was to use this stick to do good for others.

The godmother uses her stick to change breadfuit into a coach, mice, lizards, and an opposum into the horses, coachmen, and the driver.  She also dresses Cendrillon in a beautiful blue velvet gown.  Unlike other Cinderella stories, the godmother goes to the ball with Cendrillon.  Like other Cinderella's, the prince falls in love with Cendrillon, the prince finds Cendrillon because the slipper fits her, and they get married.

It is not the story of Cendrillon that I enjoyed, but the pictures.  It was pretty much the same story.  The pictures filled the page with vibrant colors.  The colors captured the beauty of the island.  This Cinderella is dark skinned, as is her prince.  The setting is the Caribbean with its beautiful blue-green water and palm trees on the beaches.  I felt that the story captured the colors, the feeling of the breezes, and the delicious fruits of Cendrillon's island.  I also enjoyed that the story was told from the godmother's point-of-view and that the prince wasn't amazing because he was handsome, but because he was good.  He loves Cendrillon even though she is poor.

I wish there was more about the culture in the book.  I may have built this book up in my own mind before reading it - I wanted to feel a tie to the story because of the origin of this story.  I think it will be interesting to read other versions of Cendrillon to see how they impact me.

In class we are reading many different folktales to learn how they are different based on their origins.  We are then going to write our own modern-day versions that appeal to us and teach us a modern lesson.  This will be another example of a Cinderella different than the Cinderellas we usually read and see in movies.

Check it out from the library.

1 comment:

JJordan said...

My favorite parts were also the pictures. The illustrator created the motion of the ocean breeze with the pictures.