Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella


Once upon a time, in Mexico . . . in Ireland . . . in Zimbabwe . . . there lived a girl who worked all day in the rice fields . . . then spent the night by the hearth, sleeping among the cinders.

Her name is Ashpet, Sootface, Cendrillon . . . Cinderella. Her story has been passed down the centuries and across continents. Now Paul Fleischman and Julie Paschkis craft its many versions into one hymn to the rich ...

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Once upon a time, in Mexico . . . in Ireland . . . in Zimbabwe . . . there lived a girl who worked all day in the rice fields . . . then spent the night by the hearth, sleeping among the cinders.

Her name is Ashpet, Sootface, Cendrillon . . . Cinderella. Her story has been passed down the centuries and across continents. Now Paul Fleischman and Julie Paschkis craft its many versions into one hymn to the rich variety and the enduring constants of our cultures.

A Junior Library Guild Selection


Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* “Endings don’t get any happier than in this global tour de force.”

School Library Journal, starred review

Rebecca Zerkin
Multicultural Cinderella anthologies already fill classroom shelves, but this worthy contribution from Fleischman, known for award-winning children's books like Seedfolks and Weslandia, cleverly reveals the overlapping elements of the stories by patching 17 versions together to make one cohesive narrative…Fleischman's prose is simple and the story familiar. Still, there are small surprises on every page…Paschkis's luminous gouache paintings—hyperactive watercolors—depict brightly colored figures in traditional dress. Her subtly visible brushstrokes and the two-dimensionality of her characters suggest folk art. As the story jumps around the globe, sometimes three or more times on one page, her images make it easy for the reader to keep track.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Beneath its handsome William Morris-like cover art, this inspired retelling blends many versions of Cinderella into a single, extraordinary tale. As Newbery Medalist Fleischman's (Joyful Noise) strong storytelling voice incorporates sometimes small details from different traditions, text and illustrations nimbly morph from one Cinderella story to the next, creating this brand-new version. Paschkis (Yellow Elephant) makes use of folk art and textile patterns throughout the world in the clever background paintings behind each of her vibrant panel illustrations, and she helpfully and unobtrusively labels the country from which relevant borrowings originate. Generally, each page focuses on a single country's contributions, but even when details from several countries share a spread, visual harmony prevails and characters remain recognizable despite their costume changes. When Cinderella has nothing to wear, for example, "a crocodile swam up to the surface-and in its mouth was a sarong made of gold [Indonesia]... a cloak sewn of kingfisher feathers [China]... a kimono red as sunset [Japan]." Even the last line of text is patched from several sources: "Such a wedding it was, and such an adoring couple [Iraq]... and such a wondrous turn of events [Korea]... that people today are still telling the story." Paschkis emphasizes the storyteller's voice by beginning and ending the narrative with illustrations of a mother reading to her daughter-a daughter who, appropriately, looks much like Cinderella herself.Ages 5-up. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Fleischman (of Joyful Noise fame) takes on the notion of central story and worldwide variants here, deliberately (and, it must be said, elegantly) intermingling multiple stories from different continents to bring us a sort of global Cinderella. The effect is of one of those old-fashioned flip-books that animate the story as you turn the pages, changing and then changing yet again, even while the reader seeks to advance a single story thread. It's a creative approach that works nicely in the pages of this inventively-illustrated picture book. Julie Paschkis' gouache illustrations are inspired by folk art traditions from numerous regions of the world, including fabric art, design motifs and folk iconography. A few elements jar the reader. Godfather Snake seems a poor fit for an Indian story fragment, since the custom of godfathers is not a particular tradition of the subcontinent. And, of course, there's the question raised by some folklore scholars: Are the so-called Cinderella stories really variants of a single story or are they simply many stories with one coincidental motif? If the latter is to be believed, then retelling them all as "Cinderella" tales privileges that motif at the expense of others. Indigenous tales from North America are conspicuously absent. One fragment is noted to be from Appalachia, yet no particular attention is paid to regional nuance in any other country. Or is the implication that China is China, its stories monocultural from Hainan to Xinjiang? Even so, the transitions from text to text are impeccable, the interracial/intercultural wedding scene is completely charming, and this work seems to hold hope for the revitalization of retold tales inpicture book form. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal

K-Gr 4
Capitalizing on the frequently made assertion that Cinderella is the most widely told folktale on earth, Fleischman and Paschkis have created a pan-cultural, universally pleasing interweaving of variants from 17 distinct cultures. This clever books reads nearly seamlessly and somehow manages to convey simultaneously the essential sameness of the story and the particularities of the different versions. Dressing for the royal shindig, our heroine, " . . . looked in her mother's sewing basket (Laos). Then she reached into the hole in the birch tree (Russia). Then a crocodile swam up to the surface-and in its mouth was a sarong made of gold (Indonesia) . . . a cloak sewn of kingfisher feathers (China) . . . a kimono red as sunset (Japan)." Paschkis's backgrounds to the text and gouache illustrations alert readers to the shifts in locale by the use of color-coding and of folk-art design motifs drawn from each culture until the final scene where costumes, dances, music, and cuisines from across the globe convene at a wedding so wondrous "that people today are still telling the story." Endings don't get any happier than in this global tour de force.
—Miriam Lang BudinCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
A gem of a book shines a light on the multifaceted Cinderella. The familiar tale begins in Mexico, continues in Korea, then Iraq, until 17 variants, from Appalachia to Zimbabwe, unfold the story in sequence. Thus, familiar motifs-glass slippers (France), lentils thrown in ashes (Germany)-share space with strikingly different ones: Godfather Snake (India), a breadfruit coach (the West Indies). Fleischman blends the different versions skillfully, adopting an Irish lilt here, an Appalachian twang there, pacing the telling brilliantly to accommodate the shifts in culture without sacrificing the tale's narrative tension. Paschkis places brightly painted folk-art vignettes in panels against backdrops inspired by the textiles of the cultures represented. Her frame, of a mother and daughter reading the book together, ties the lush presentation up in a bow. Richly colored endpapers feature a map of the world, the regions where the tales originate indicated clearly. For anyone who ever thought they'd seen enough of Cinderella, here's an offering that, in celebrating both its universality and specificity, makes the old tale new again. (Picture book/folklore. 4-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805079531
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/4/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 316,608
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: AD700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.91 (w) x 11.24 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Fleischman won a Newbery Medal for Joyful Noise and a Newbery Honor for Graven Images. He is also the author of young adult novels including Whirligig and The Mind's Eye, and middle-grade novels including Bull Run and Seedfolks. He lives with his wife in northern California.


Julie Paschkis won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor for Yellow Elephant. She lives in Seattle.

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