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Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal

Glass Slipper, Gold SandalOne of the fascinating and mysterious things about folklore is that the same story types appear all over the world. Here’s a single picture book that tells a Cinderella-type story as found in several different cultures.

I think children would need to first be familiar with a single, cohesive version of this story in order to appreciate this book, but that is easily done. There are plenty of terrific stand-alone picture books of Cinderella, Cendrillon, etc., including our old friend John Steptoe‘s Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters.

What do you make of this one? Notice how the story is made cohesive, yet also kept separate, thanks mostly to Paschkis’s illustrations and the book’s design. Does this work for you? For children?

Lolly Robinson About Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is the creative director for The Horn Book, Inc. She has degrees in studio art and children's literature and teaches children's literature at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogs for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.



  1. Carli Spina says:

    I really liked this book. I agree that children would need some basic familiarity with the story before fully appreciating this book, but I think that many will already know about the story from a young age through either the Disney version or through other storybooks. Whether presented to children who are already familiar with the story or paired with a more traditional version of the folktale, I think this is a great book for teaching children about the universality of fairytales and building an appreciation of other cultures. The way that the story wove together pieces from multiple versions, together with the artwork that shows aspects of the cultures that originated those versions of the tale made it incredibly engaging and beautiful. I was impressed with the thought that must have gone into combining the stories so effectively. I wished that the illustration styles might have incorporated more elements of traditional artwork from the countries that originated the various versions of the story (rather than just illustrating clothing and objects from countries), but overall I really enjoyed the book greatly.

  2. Sunny Zhang says:

    This was one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in awhile. I wish I knew about this book when I was younger. It’s one of my new favorites. The idea of intertwining bits and pieces of the Cinderella fairy tale from countries all over the world is genius and the accompanying illustrations are lovely too. The words and pictures were very whimsical and fairytale-like which was perfect for the type of story it was telling. What a great multicultural book, using a universally known story to reach young children and introducing other cultures at the same time.

  3. Shannon Moran says:

    “Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal” is an engaging and beautifully illustrated retelling of Cinderella. In fact, I prefer this book to the traditional telling of Cinderella that I received as a child. “Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal” emphasizes the universality of folklore and the values that persist cross-culturally throughout time. The illustrations clearly mark the different geographic areas, but the story blends together quite naturally. I think children would have a lot of questions about the different kinds of clothing Cinderella wears and the kinds of food being served at the banquet; these questions would be a great way to open up a dialogue about other cultures. By having a version of Cinderella that students are already familiar with, children would be able to use this book as both a “mirror” and a “window” into alternate versions of the story, allowing them to see both themselves and others through the text.

  4. Andrea LeMahieu says:

    As others have commented, I appreciated how the same tale from many different cultures were intertwined to tell one story. I thought that artwork and illustrations on each page captured the many cultures represented in the book. When reading this, I began to think about how it could be used in a classroom as a mentor to a class writing project where students could collaborate to tell a tale together. Students could all write a story with a similar plot line and physically cut their story and glue the pieces of everyone’s story together to make a class story (I can actually picture kids collaborating and trying to make the pieces go together to make the story flow- that might take a lot of critical thinking). Another interesting task would be to create a book very similar “Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal” but with another common folktale that transcends many cultures. If there are students from a variety of background in the classroom, students could use their own knowledge of a familiar folktale from their culture. Or, in a less diverse classroom setting, students could research a common folktale from an assigned culture. These are just some ideas that came to me while reading, and I would love to hear others ideas for using this book in the classroom as well!

  5. Kim Fernandes says:

    I certainly agree with everyone who’s already commented that this book would work well in classrooms where there are students from a variety of different backgrounds. I also think, however, that this could even be a good first-time introduction to Cinderella for students who aren’t familiar with the original story, because it would be particularly interesting to see how students form their own perceptions of what the classic story should be when they read this one instead of a traditional version. I also liked that the story is so universal across cultures, and that this book could be used as a starting point for discussion among children about what is similar to/different from their own cultural version of the story.

  6. Diwen Shi says:

    I really appreciate the author’s effort to weave so many versions of Cinderella stories into one beautiful book. I agree with my classmates that children might be first introduced to at least one single version of the story before they approach this book. Otherwise, they would probably be confused when following the storyline because it is sometimes linear and sometimes paralleled. Like Carli, I also wish the author could apply more artistic styles specific to the culture to illustrate this book, for I did not notice it was a collage of different cultural versions until I read the introduction and the countries’ names in the corner–I originally assumed it was only doing a binary contrast between western and eastern culture. Though some cultural elements are well represented, it is still hard for children to see the difference unless they are guided by parents or teachers who have knowledge of these cultures.

  7. Zohra Manjee says:

    In agreement with what has already been said, I think Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal is a very beautifully weaved story with vibrant illustrations. It’s amazing how different elements of the same story have been localized to better represent the food and culture, and yet these different elements can still fit together to create a story that seems to flow effortlessly.I appreciate the bright and colorful illustrations that all share a similar style but are unique and tailored to better represent the country/culture of that specific sequence in the story. Specifically, I like the layout of the main illustration on each page framed towards the center with a series of other supporting images in the background. There were definitely elements of the Cinderella story that I was unfamiliar with, as most children will be. However, I think this book does a great job of keeping the story similar enough that a child will be able to easily follow along, while sprinkling other variations of the story to keep the child engaged, inquisitive, and immersed in world culture.

  8. Corinne Fischer says:

    I hate to be repetitive, but I absolutely love Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal. It is a beautiful example of a multicultural book. As others have said, it would be a wonderful addition to a classroom that contains culturally diverse students since they may be able to identify with the Cinderella tale from their country. It is also a wonderful tool to teach folktales and the tradition of oral storytelling that is inherent in this type of story.

  9. Ashley Foxworth says:

    I really like “Glass Silpper, Gold Sandal.” This is an excellent example of a truly multi-cultural book. This book could reach and do so many different things for different audiences, which I love. I think kids who aren’t necessarily familiar with Cinderella would enjoy this book and appreciate it just as a good fairytale. Kids who are already familiar with (likely Western) versions of Cinderella might appreciate the book on a deeper level, recognizing that it is a multicultural retelling of a story they’re already familiar with. I wonder how many of the multi-cultural elements younger kids would understand on their own? If they did notice the references to elements from different cultures, would they “get” it or be confused why the shoe types/ foods/ modes of transportations/ clothes/ depictions of characters keep changing? I don’t know, but I certainly think they would understand, as others have said, with a parent/ teacher helping them to explore the book. Older audiences could better appreciate the multiculturalism of the book, and the book would be a useful tool in helping them learn about folktales. I can think of so many great writing projects that this could inspire as well–multi-cultural retellings of other folktales/ traditional stories, elaborations on the story from the perspective of one particular culture, retelling it from your culture, etc. Love it!

  10. Luisa Sparrow says:

    Andrea, I like your idea for a classroom application! Another thought I had was that students could each choose a favorite folktale and read a version they’re familiar with and a version from another culture, which they could then compare and contrast. One thing I found interesting was that the little girl who was listening to the story being read to her looked like the Mexican Cinderella (especially her eye lashes!), and she and her mother looked quite different, which could possibly add another element to the multicultural approach. My favorite section was when Cinderella’s step mother wrapped her up in a mat (in Laos).

  11. Marina Chan says:

    This is a beautiful book and the first I have come across that weaves different cultures into the same story. Without repeating my colleagues’ comments, I appreciate the constance of portraying Cinderella with long straight black hair. I would imagine this would help the child reader focus on this character in the myriad of cultural shifts. I also appreciate on some pages in the book the background illustrations which add elaboration to the main illustration and text. I do echo some of the earlier comments that adding artistic elements unique to the culture would have brought more authenticity.

  12. Long Phan says:

    I agree with much of what’s already been said. I do believe that children will need a basic familiarity with the Cinderella story in order to fully appreciate this multicultural retelling. I’m extremely familiar with the Cinderella story but found myself asking “what is going on” after the first page. From a design standpoint, I enjoyed the endpapers which featured a map of the countries represented. I adored the art on every page, and loved that it reflected the style, people, and animals of each country. Also, the country names and color themes were helpful in transitioning from page to page, and country to country. My favorite country was Indonesia which reminded me of my grandpa who used to have some of the same Indonesian shadow puppets in his house.

  13. Norah Rivera says:

    I agree with what my classmates have said. I really loved this book! At first, I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought it was going to be a collection of different versions of Cinderalla. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was a single story that brought together various cultural traditions. I think the artwork really served to showcase the different traditions and geographic locations. In reading this story, I felt that I was constantly being transported to different parts of the world. Lastly, as someone also mentioned, I think this book can be a great resource for dacilitating a lesson where students are asked to work together to write different parts of a story, and then put it all together.

  14. Robin TF says:

    This was a beautiful retelling, and the multicultural detail made it an engaging read, even after having read Cinderella as many times as I have. One of the things I love about fairy tales is the ‘time travel’ element – the ancient oral tradition cadence combined with the little details take the reader to another time or place. Details in the language as simple as a stewpot on an open fire, or a cottage, or sandals and figs… This version of the story offers a satisfying level of this type of detail.

    If anyone is interested, I recently read a version of Cinderella (“Cinder Maid”) that I hadn’t heard in a long time. (See link below.) My classmates in my discussion group always laugh when I reveal my childhood proclivity for the gorier tales, so anyone reading this will not be surprised that it was the version in which the step-sisters cut off their toes to fit into the glass slipper. I wouldn’t expect this to be added to this beautiful children’s story, but I am curious if the author encountered any more of this type of detail in the story, or if that’s just limited to early editions of Grimm’s.

    But in addition to the gruesome, there were other exciting details reminiscent of the story “Donkeyskin” in that Cinderella retrieves ethereally beautiful dresses from nutshells. This reminded me that one of the most enthralling pieces of Cinderella to children and adults alike is the great transformation: wearing rags and suddenly wearing the most beautiful dress you’ve ever seen; having nothing and suddenly having everything. Apparently makeovers are a trope that long predates Shaw’s Pygmalion or ABC’s Extreme Makeover. Because the “makeover” is such a powerful part of the story, I would have loved to hear (and see) more detail about the transformation of the maiden and her various accoutrements.

  15. Nell O'Donnell says:

    I loved this book. It reminded me of a project I worked on a few years ago where I collected different versions of the “stone soup” folktale. I wonder, though, how aware a young child would be of how interesting this book is, or whether the child might be confused that the shoe changes styles (etc.) over the course of the story. The illustrations were amazing, though, and I think would capture any child’s imagination.

  16. Mark Loring says:

    I complete agree with you Sunny. This book was BEAUTIFUL. I loved staring at the pictures, not even feeling the need to examine the words. When I did finally look at the story I was impressed with how well the bits were intertwined together, providing a new take on an old tale. I think this book provides a fantastic jumping off point for a discussion about various cultures and how they are both similar and different. I have never experienced a story like this before and I too am sad that I did not experience this book in my younger years.

  17. Lynn Van Auken says:

    I begin my 2nd grade Cinderella study with Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal for two reasons: 1 – most students are already familiar with the French version, and 2 – I don’t want to imply that the French – or any other version – is the “standard” against which all other Cinderella stories should be compared.

    I find children are able to follow Fleischman’s story whether or not they are familiar with other Cinderella stories, as long as we discuss the format and basis of this retelling before we read it. Then, we read complete versions of a bunch of the variations touched upon in this book, and do compare/contrast work as we go.

    The largest minority population in our school is Brazilian, and I’ve yet to find a Cinderella story set in Brazil, or any South American country, for that matter. These students always ask, I tell them I don’t know of any, and in turn ask them to ask their parents, but one has yet to turn up. Does anyone know of a South American Cinderella? I’d love to add it to our study.

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