Part of a series of retold Cinderella stories from various cultures;Abadeha features all the elements that make this ancient format ever popular. The author researched the traditional Filipino folk tale, "a casualty of more than three hundred years of Spanish colonization and a century of Americanization," and lovingly presents the beautiful daughter, wicked stepmother and stepsisters, absent father, and Spirit of the Forest who magically rescues the heroine. Instead of white mice, there is a sarimanok, "a chicken with long flowing tail and feathers the color of the rainbow." Instead of a hearth of ashes, there is a mat torn up by a wild pig to be rewoven like new. But, of course, there is a handsome prince, a search for the maiden who can remove the ring from his finger, and a wedding at the end. I especially liked the title page using the "ancient and now forgotten system of writing" called Alibata, and the beautiful light-filled pictures of exotic clothing, flowers and animals that make this book so special. 2001, Shen's Books, $16.95. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer:Judy Chernak
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Abadeha prays to the Spirit of the Forest for guidance to endure the unkind stepmother who heaps piles of work on her. The Spirit gives the young woman an enchanted sarimanok that is summarily killed by the stepmother and roasted for dinner. Abadeha offers the bird's feet to the Spirit, and is told to bury them on her mother's grave. Later, she returns to find an enchanted tree laden with jewels. A respectful prince finds it and takes a ring from it; his finger begins to swell and he cannot remove the ring. Of course, Abadeha is the one who removes it, marries the prince, and lives happily ever after. The illustrations are slightly stiff; often characters' eyes seem to be dark sockets with a resulting look reminiscent of textbook art. The text and art together provide an adequate, if somewhat awkward portrayal of Cinderella. For more successfully executed versions, try Rebecca Hickox's The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story (Holiday, 1998); Ai-Ling Louie's Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China (Philomel, 1982); or Robert D. San Souci's Cendrillon (S & S, 1998), a Creole variant of the tale.-Susan M. Moore, Louisville Free Public Library, KY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-- This version of the familiar story comes with a fairy godmother who makes Abadeha (Cinderella) work for her rewards, three wicked stepsisters, and a stepmother so mean as to make her cross-cultural counterparts look like wimps by comparison. Prince Charming, here a chieftain's son, puts a magic ring on his finger, falls deathly ill, and can be cured only by the maiden who can remove it, who is of course Abadeha. The illustrations depict the clothing and culture of the Muslim minority in the Philippines, but are drawn in a cartoon-strip style best described as watered-down Prince Valiant. The writing is straightforward, if rather plodding, and the dialogue is wooden. Cultural variants of universal tales are always welcome and Philippine folklore is underrepresented in children's literature. However, the quality of this offering precludes its addition to most collections. --John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
From The Critics
Abadeha is set in the Philippines and is based on a native legend. A young girl whose mother has died is forced to perform impossible tasks by her mean stepfamily. Good reading skills by ages 8-12 will lend to an appreciation of this detailed story of a girl's loneliness and love.