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Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal | Class #5, 2016

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. Christina Simpson says:

    I thought this book worked quite well, and I really enjoyed reading it! I looked at the title and the map on the endpapers before reading the book, and I was expecting it to be a collection of Cinderella tales from different cultures. I was delightfully surprised that it combined the tales into one cohesive story. The illustrations and the design of the book definitely do create a sense of cohesion. For instance, I thought pages like the one describing the different types of shoes (glass slippers in France, diamond anklets in India, and sandals of gold in Iraq) effectively highlighted the slight variations that exist between the different tales while still allowing the reader to follow the narrative. Utilizing the same color for the background illustrations for each country was also helpful.

    I agree with the suggestion that children would need to be familiar with the Cinderella tale before reading this book. Once children do have that familiarity, I think the book would work well and be quite engaging!

  2. Jacqueline Scherr says:

    I enjoyed this book as well! I like how the book was made cohesive through the text. Different cultures were embedded throughout the book particularly through the illustrations. The labeled map at the beginning of the book is a nice way to get children familiarized with geography and different cultures. I could see teachers starting this book with a classroom activity to demonstrate the different cultures. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary for (particularly older) children to have an understanding of Cinderella before reading this book. Since this book is cohesive, children could read this as a fairy tale. It would be interesting to ask children afterwards what they think the American version of Cinderella would be like. After reading this book, children could read a general version of Cinderella and compare the two. For younger children, teachers can read Cinderella or discuss the general storyline before reading this book.

  3. Caroline Holkeboer says:

    I used this book during my one-on-one intervention with a student I worked with this year! She was fairly familiar with the Cinderella story and we used her previous knowledge to point out similarities and difference between her understanding of the story and other cultures. My student also loved identifying the different countries represented and we often referenced the map at the front of the book throughout our reading together. Like Christina, I also found the pages that highlighted three different versions on the same page, like the glass slippers, diamond anklets, and sandals of gold to be particularly poignant. Overall, I felt that Julie Paschki’s beautiful illustrations and the overall design of the book help pull together this folktale into a memorable and cohesive story.

  4. Anthony Capone says:

    Even though I think that the story is put together very well (which could be a challenge when working with so many versions of Cinderella), I agree that students would need to be exposed to (preferably multiple versions of) the stand-alone stories before reading this one. As a teacher, I had a mini-unit on versions of Cinderella (including Yeh-Shen, The Egyptian Cinderella, The Salmon Princess, etc.). The students really needed time with each individual version to process similarities and differences. I do not think they would be able to truly enjoy “Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal” until they have developed their background knowledge. Additionally, I like how the book’s artwork clearly defines each of the distinct pieces. I think that this aspect of the text could help students monitor comprehension and even more so be used as a tool to repair comprehension.

  5. Soujanya Ganig says:

    Just like everybody else, even I was thinking about how this book could be introduced to a class. I like Anthony’s idea of exposing the students to stand-alone stories before introducing them to this book. Another possible idea would be to teach this book over a full unit and theme the whole unit around this story. This book has so much to offer and is so rich in content, illustration and context that it will be injustice to teach it only as a read-aloud. I would like to design a whole unit around this book and plan my lessons (science, social science, reading fluency and math) such that they are integrated with this text. I also see so much potential for discussions on global citizenship and unity among diversity! Such an exciting book!

  6. Carla Cevallos says:

    I find the artwork of this book absolutely enthralling. The illustrator managed to find a style that, like the story itself, is generic enough to fit all the different cultures that she needed to portray, finding room for distinctive details for each culture, but without creating a sharp contrast between them in the illustrations. I also appreciated the book’s design, specially the way in which backgrounds were color-coded in correspondence with the different countries and designed to discreetly include the symbolic elements of each particular culture. I agree with other people’s comments about the book being too complex for young children if they do not have a solid understanding of some of the stand-alone stories if the intention is to compare and contrast the different versions. However, I do think that this book can also work well by itself, since its such a celebration of culture! I agree with Soujanya’s point about the potential for discussions about diversity, and think that the book could be introduced through this lens independently of the comparison to other versions.

  7. Iliana Gutierrez says:

    I agree that Fleischman did a very good job of creating a cohesive narrative of Cinderella tales from different regions. One of the things that must have been tricky for the illustrator to consider was how she could create an element of cohesiveness through her illustrations while still reflecting the varying details from particular regions. Even though the Cinderella character looks different from region to region, she helps to create that cohesive element. Like Carla described above, the style is broad enough to encompass all the different cultures, but is still distinct enough to portray the differences. I was especially struck by how much additional information could be gathered from the background illustrations. The details infuse the narrative with depth.

  8. Madeline Loughridge says:

    I definitely agree with all that has been said here. There is a big focus on writing fairytales in first grade, so I’m excited to integrate this story! Students have the opportunity to compare different fairytales and also different versions of the same tale. It will be interesting to hear the different things students can pull from this story that travels around the world.

  9. Erin King says:

    I agree with what most other people have said so far on this thread. I have only read one other version of Cinderella that is different from the original version, and I learned a lot from this culmination of various versions from different cultures. I found the countries’ labels to be helpful, and I think this book could be a great component in a unit plan comparing aspects of different cultures. I was also captivated by the illustrations; the colors were eye catching and the designs were intricate.

  10. Tom Grasso says:

    I agree with so many of the comments already posted. Like Caroline, I, too, used the book with a student whom I worked with in a one-on-one intervention. Because she was a fourth grader, this particular student had a lot of background knowledge about the Cinderella folk tale, so it was easy for her to access. And similar to Caroline’s student, my student was particularly interested in comparing and contrasting the details of this book with the “traditional” Cinderella she already knew. As others have posted, it might be harder for younger children to to access the book as a cohesive story without the right amount of introduction. But I worry that if TOO MUCH background information is given to younger students to “prepare” them for this Cinderella-like tale, the magic of Fleischman’s text and Paschki’s illustrations might be lost; they need to be appreciated in and of themselves. What I particularly liked was the author’s note at the beginning of the story, highlighting the history of the Cinderella tale and underscoring the point that we are all connected in this world even through the stories we tell. The end of the book also highlighted this interconnectedness by bringing together many of the different cultures and traditions in the final wedding scene which was so grand “that people today are still telling the story.”

  11. Ken Hagberg says:

    Sorry guys, I’m late to the party this week, but I must say I absolutely loved this book! Definitely my favorite for the semester. This was definitely one of those books in which the cover alone would lured me in and by the time I opened it to see the map of all the different places in the story I was hooked. The background illustrations were all similar enough in style to connect the points, but different enough in color to also keep them separate. I thought it was a great balance. I’m excited that Caroline and Tom have already used this book for interventions and look forward to do the same.

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