Sunday, March 04, 2007
Cinderella Is All Over The Place
This is somewhat embarrassing to admit, but I tend to pick up picture books that are on subjects of interest to me, hoping, I guess, that I'll pick up information written on a level I have some chance of understanding.
For years now I've been thinking of writing a book with some Egyptian material, so when I saw The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo on the new book shelf at a local library, I snatched it up. Sure enough, this is an Egyptian variation on the Cinderella story. It is a little creepy that the Cinderella figure is rather fair-haired and pink-cheeked while the servant girls who take the place of the evil stepsisters are much darker. I'm not sure what to make of that, since Rhodopis (the Egyptian Cinderella) is picked on for her looks. Is it some kind of subtle racism since the white girl gets the pharaoh? Or will young readers think of race differently, since the palest character is the one who is treated badly?
In spite of that worry, I do like the idea of Cinderella stories from other cultures. Climo and her illustrator, Ruth Heller, also produced The Korean Cinderella, and with another illustrator Climo published The Persian Cinderella.
By the way, though I found The Egyptian Cinderella on a "New Book" shelf, it is not a newly published book. It was published in 1989. Way to go, Shirley. That's a good long time for a picture book to be in print.