Fleischman, P., & Paschkis, J. (illustrator). (2007). Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
In this retelling of Cinderella, we see how the story is told around the world. From Mexico to Ireland to Germany to Iran to India to China to Zimbabwe and more.
The story progresses in the usual format: evil stepmother, Cinderella forced to work, the ball, the missing shoe, happily ever after. From page to page, however, we hear how the same story is told differently throughout the world.
Paschkis’ stunning illustrations are bright and captivating. Each page has the central image that tells the story. But then the margins and background space is illustrated with images evoking the country of origin, which is listed in the bottom corner of the page.
This is an exciting and beautiful interpretation of a classic story that introduces multi-culturalism and can be an educational experience for young readers, especially those familiar with the classic story. Overall, I give this book a 5 out of 5!
Gidwitz, A. (2010). A Tale Dark & Grimm. New York: Dutton Children’s Books.
This novel retells the classic tale of Hansel and Gretel, but goes beyond the well-known story of two children getting caught in a witch’s candy house. The story begins before Hansel and Gretel’s birth and explains why they were wandering in the woods and what happens after the Witch falls into the fire.
The title is not ironic. This tale is dark and grim. It is gory and scary, and at times, disturbing. And, as an adult reader, I loved it. But this is definitely not a book for young children.
The narrator continuously jumps into the story, warning children of the scary or gross parts, which does prepare them mentally, but also serves as a bit of a dare, asking readers if they can really handle what they’re about to read.
This book is not for the faint of heart, but older children who enjoy fairy tales and spooky stories will likely love this book. And, as a bonus, there are two other books in the series, one about Rumpelstiltskin and the other about Jack & Jill.
Overall, I give this book a 4.5 out of 5, but I also give it a strong reader’s advisory statement: this book is definitely for older children, maybe even young adult readers.