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Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal | Class #5, 2015

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. Lindsey Bailey says:

    This book amazed me – I loved the way that the author pieced together bits and pieces of different versions of the Cinderella story – and still came up with something that made sense! The layout and design of each page (which highlighted the country of origin for the particular snippet of the story) made it easy to quickly see and compare different ways of addressing the same elements of the plot across cultures. I found it powerful to see Cinderella depicted in so many ways.

  2. Gek Keng says:

    Initially, I was expecting a collection of individual stories but I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I think the author managed to weave the unique elements of the respective Cinderella stories together very deftly. I also want to commend the book design for balancing cohesion and separation – definitely a choice which worked for me! I think this is a book that warrants many re-readings to truly appreciate the subtle differences, especially in the background illustrations (cohesive because of similar styles but unique in representing elements of each culture).

    This would be a fantastic book to teach children about the diversity of cultures and geography (using the maps depicted on the endpapers). That being said, I do agree that children will get the most out of it if they are already familiar with one complete version of Cinderella.

  3. Mary Winters says:

    I really enjoyed this book! I love how it incorporated so many different cultures, and especially how each culture is visually represented with the illustrations and background of each page. The visuals also give children a glimpse into different cultures, and different notions of beauty around the world. This book not only does a fantastic job of expanding a child’s global awareness, it also breaks barriers in showing children the similarities across countries and cultures, through a shared, beloved story.

  4. Annie Thomas says:

    I enjoyed the ways in which this story went back and forth between cultures. I love the illustrations and the way in which the words were put into boxes on the page. I agree with Lolly, that the illustrations really try to help separate the narrative and that it really would be most helpful for younger students to read or hear the whole story first. I thought the way that the two cultures were intertwined was an excellent example of how folktales differ across culture and how simple things, like food, can be highlighted to introduced children to a new culture or excite them about their own culture.

  5. Nicole Eslinger says:

    I completely agree with the comments above. The illustrations did a nice job of making sense out of the different stories within the book. I found myself spending a good amount of time on each page, first to decipher the culture represented and then to find pieces of the story illustrated in the background. It was particularly interesting when one part of the story was represented through various cultures, all on one page.

    Since many children in the US are already familiar with Disney’s Cinderella tale, this would be a great way to introduce the idea that other cultures are both similar and different to ours.

  6. Kara Brady says:

    I agree with the comments above — I absolutely loved this book! As a huge fan of all things Disney, I love singing different versions of stories I’m familiar with. A couple pages in, I realized that the name of the country where each particular section was from was actually listed there on the page. This made reading really interesting for me because I could understand how the depictions tied into each culture. Also, while most of the story only used one culture per section, I really appreciated how some instances (i.e. the mention of the shoe, anklet, etc.) pulled from various cultures so that we could clearly see how the story varies in each place. This book opened my eyes to different cultures and I know it would do the same for children. I definitely want to make note of this one, this would be one I would buy for myself!

  7. Joshua Jenkins says:

    What made this book work for me was its originality–instead of another spin on Cinderella, it’s an piecemeal anthology of several different cultures. While I read the introducion, I misunderstood its message at first, and it wasn’t until a few pages in that I realized what was going on–I thought, “What culture is this with this array of food?!” And then, I looked a little more closely, saw the country names in the illustrations, and went back to the beginning soaking it all in.

    There can never be another folktale like this because it’s the kind of appeal that only has novelty once, but I’m happy this is out there.

    I’ve often prompted kids to write regional versions of common folktales before, and I wish I’d known of this book! I will definitely use it in the future.

  8. Stacey Kahn says:

    It’s interesting – when I first saw this book and glanced at its title, I thought I’d be disinterested and disengaged. Another Cinderella story? I thought. But when I cracked this book open, it wound up being one of my favorites of the week. The illustrations are beautiful; the way they seamlessly transition with the different cultures is breathtaking. The diverse cultural perspectives—especially those we are probably unfamiliar with as Americans, many of us perhaps even drawing from the Disney movie—were enlightening and cleverly embedded. Another version of this book could have easily been a disjointed presentation of multiple perspectives—in the wrong hands. But Fleischman and Paschkis show us that this story did, indeed, fall into the right hands, and they masterfully weave a multicultural version of a story into one cohesive (and colorful) whole.

  9. Rebecca Tan says:

    I loved how this books seamlessly integrated different cultures and really highlighted their unique features in the retelling of a familiar tale, Cinderella. From the map in the beginning to help children visualise or contextualise the different places mentioned, to the different types of clothing that different cultures would wear to a ball, these features were integrated neatly into the story in a way that did not disrupt the narrative but also helped me learn more about each place.
    I’m sure the version most are familiar with is the Disney version, however, what I appreciated was that this story revealed different dimensions to the same story. For example, that the girl felt that she had brought it upon herself by “picking up the scorpion with her own hand” and did not want to tell her father and upset him could be an example of the cultural influence on the story.

  10. Ying Xiang Lai says:

    As like everyone else, I was really impressed with how the author and illustrator managed weave the various cultures together along the main story line, which could have ended up horribly disjointed and confusing. Somehow, despite the different cultural references, the story still flowed well and was coherent. Similar to Rebecca, I had the impression that phrases such as “picking up the scorpion with her own hand” were local idioms and would have liked a more detailed description of each culture at the end of the book. Nevertheless, this book brought a breath of fresh air to the traditional folktale and I especially enjoyed the last spread where all the cultures came together in a harmonious way.

  11. Quinn Dennehy says:

    I want to echo everything everyone said! Has anyone ever watched the Chinese version of Cinderella on CBS Storybook? It was my favorite cartoon growing up, and I loved seeing the different cultures come through in this book. I used to teach fourth grade literacy, and one of our standards was to have students understand different cultural perspectives and expose them to many different cultures. This book would have been a perfect addition to our classroom library. What a well written and beautifully illustrated book!

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