Monday, September 29, 2008

Genre 2- The Egyptian Cinderella

(1) Bibliography
Climo, Shirley. 1989. THE EGYPTIAN CINDERELLA. Ill. by Ruth Heller. New York: HarperCollins Children’s Books. ISBN 0064432793

(2) Plot Summary
Rhodopis is a Greek slave girl in Egypt. Even though her master is kind, she is mistreated by the Egyptian servant girls. After her master sees her dancing, he has a pair of golden rose-red slippers made for her. The gift evokes the jealousy of the servant girls. When the Pharaoh holds high court, they sail away to the event leaving poor Rhodopis behind. To add to her misery a falcon flies off with one of her slippers. At the high court the falcon drops the slipper into the lap of the Pharaoh who is bored with the affair. Seeing the falcon as sign, the Pharaoh declares that he shall marry the maiden who fits the slipper. The Pharaoh proceeds to search all over Egypt. Will his quest lead him to Rhodopis?

(3) Critical Analysis
The character of Rhodopis is simple yet very real. She is fortunate than most slaves but is still mistreated because she is different. This difference adds to her cross-cultural appeal. Most readers can identify with what it is like to be different. She may seem like a weak character but she is not. Despite her situation (losing her home, losing her parents, her subsequent enslavement and mistreat by the other girls) Rhodopis does all she can to keep her spirits up, dancing for her animal friends. The illustrations are amazing. Not only are the colors very vivid but Heller provided a tremendous amount of detail (i.e. the falcon’s feathers). In the scene when Rhodopis master spies her dancing, it almost seems as if Rhodopis might twirl right off the page.

(4) Review Except(s)
Publishers Weekly: “In mellifluous prose and majestic illustrations, these collaborators present an inventive twist on the classic tale.”

School Library Journal: “A stunning combination of fluent prose and exquisitely wrought illustrations.”

(5) Connections
*Have students compare and contrast the story elements with the Disney Cinderella.

*Create a reader theater script and have the class perform it.

*Read Climo’s other Cinderella tales to the class:
Climo, Shirley. The Irish Cinderlad. ISBN 0-606-17881-3
Climo, Shirley. The Korean Cinderella. ISBN 0-06-443397-8
Climo, Shirley. The Persian Cinderella. ISBN 0-06-443853-8

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