Sunday, February 16, 2014

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal

Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal -- A Worldwide Cinderella was written by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Julie Paschkis.

   I had to read this book several times to soak in the beauty of the pages and look closely at the significance of the change in the illustrations.  The first time I read Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal, I was about half way through the book before I realized that the setting was changing throughout the book.  I was reading it at a surface level and had not absorbed all of the fine details yet.  Once I realized that it stated what part of the world the section of text had come from, I paid closer attention to the illustrations. The second time I read it through, I slowed down, matched the country to the illustrations and saw how the people and dress and food changed depending on what country's tale the author was pulling from at the time. What a wonderful way to tell a story. The story was still clear, with no confusion when Paul Fleischman jumped from country to country.  I enjoyed seeing the change in how the people looked, what they ate and how they dressed. I think that it was smart to have put the map on the front and back inside covers. It gives an awareness to where the countries were and how far this tale had traveled. It would be a wonderful asset to have in the classroom when discussing diversity.  One book shows so many cultures within it and the students would love to see the beauty that comes from the other cultures.

Thinking about a traditional tales characteristics, Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal, was very accurate.  It started off as "Once upon a time...." and went through the story with simple sentences and structures.  The problem was stated right at the beginning, the book quickly moved through the steps to solve the problem, hit the climax of the stepmother trying to stop her stepdaughter from coming to the party, and the problem was solved with the prince finding her at her house and taking her away so that she did not have to live with her evil stepmother and stepsisters anymore.  It was easy to follow and most students would be able to recognize the story line since they are familiar with our version of Cinderella. 

The illustrations were beautiful.  The change in color for each country helps the reader determine when Fleischman has switched the story to a different culture.  The swirls and twirls throughout all of the pages makes me feel at peace while reading, even though there is some turmoil within the story.  The framed pictures allowed me to focus on the differences between each page and see how Paschkis changed the look of the characters when the country was changed.  I noticed though, that you could always tell who the step daughter was throughout the book, as she kept her long, black hair.

Before realizing the changes within the book, I was thinking about how familiar the tale is.  Obviously, I knew that it was a version of Cinderella, but the familiarity led me to think about how important the setting in a story is.  Knowing where the woman is from helps us understand why she is wearing a particular outfit, eating particular foods or speaking in a particular way.  This book could be used as a great introduction to the importance of setting and what we can learn from it in the classroom.  Students need to understand how the setting can change a story, or how a setting can bring several stories together and this book would lend itself to starting a discussion about it.

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