In the Spice Islands, where clove and nutmeg trees grow,
a girl named Damura lived long ago.
Damura is a beautiful girl, as kind and lovely as the little green parrot that perches on the nutmeg tree. But Damura's stepmother and stepsister mistreat her. They force her to rise before dawn, carry out all the chores, and sleep on the floor. One day, while down by the river, Damura calls out to the creatures of the wild for help. Rising from the waters, an ancient crocodile answers the call. This unusual fairy godmother, aptly named Grandmother Crocodile, outfits Damura in a sarong of gold, with slippers to match, and sends her to the palace to dance for the prince. Once he sees her, the prince knows that she will be his bride.
But the fairy tale isn't quite over. Damura's wicked stepmother and stepsister are so jealous that they push Damura into the river, where she is swallowed by a crocodile. Too bad they didn't know about Grandmother Crocodile....
The Gift of the Crocodile, a tale from the Spice Islands in Indonesia, offers a colorful and dramatic twist on the universally adored Cinderella story.
About the Author
Judy Sierra is the author of many award-winning books for children including the bestsellers Antarctic Antics, illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey; Wild About Books, illustrated by Marc Brown; and The Secret Science Project that Almost Ate the School, illustrated by Stephen Gammell. Sierra holds a PhD in folklore and mythology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has received the Children’s Choice Award from the International Reading Association, two Aesop awards from the American Folklore Society, and the E.B. White Read Aloud Prize from the Association of Booksellers for Children. She lives with her husband in Eugene, Oregon. Visit her online at JudySierra.net.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Judy Sierra retells the bare bones story of Cinderella with myths and traditions of Indonesia. Some of the events seem strange to me, but I am accustomed to a more Western version of the tale.
This version of the Cinderella fairytale comes from the Spice Islands. Damura¿s mother teaches her traditional dances and to respect the animals. When she dies, Damura is tricked into convincing her father to marry another woman in the village, who soon turns on Damura, treating her as a slave for herself and her daughter. When Damura is doing laundry at the river, she loses her old sarong, but Grandmother Crocodile gives her another made of silver. The stepsister tries to repeat Damura¿s success, but after spanking a baby crocodile and being short with Grandmother Crocodile, she is given a ragged sarong covered in leeches. When the prince holds a ball to choose a bride, the stepmother and stepsister leave Damura at home, stealing her silver sarong. However, Grandmother Crocodile once again gifts the girl with a beautiful sarong, made out of gold, and matching slippers. Like other Cinderella stories, she loses a slipper at the ball, but the prince uses it to track Damura down. Unlike most other versions, Damura¿s story continues, as her stepmother and stepsister apologize, wishing to be friends. They take her on a boat ride, but then toss her overboard, where a crocodile eats her. When the prince tells Grandmother Crocodile of what happened, she gathers the other reptiles around her and forces the guilty croc to spit her out. Grandmother Crocodile brings Damura back to life and promises her and her children protection forever.Fans of the Cinderella story will enjoy this Indonesian version. Sierra¿s writing is clever and humorous, but also echoes the traditional narration style. The varying details in this story will keep readers fascinated. The author¿s note at the end of the book explains the different influences used in her story, including a short history of the Cinderella story itself. Ruffins¿ artwork is bold, mixing bright acrylic paints with miniature silhouettes. The illustrations vary between wide, two-page spread landscapes to intense close-ups of characters. The trees, rivers, and figures flow and weave together and evoke the landscape of the story.
Damura gets help from the animals in this variation of Cinderella. It is a lesson in being polite and respectful to all who help you. I loved the fate of the sister who tried to get her own gift from the Mother Crocodile. A very satisfying ending to this Cinderella version.