The Persian Cinderella
This is a very different Cinderella variant since the prince only sees Cinderella for a moment and it's the queen who eventually searches out the missing Princess. Definitely recommended for it's cultural aspects, the focal lesson is that good deeds eventually result in happy consequences.
Ever since her mother died, lovely Settareh has lived a life of loneliness and torment at the hands of her stepmother, aunts, cousins, and stepsisters, who are jealous of her beauty. Then an invitation comes from the royal palace for all to attend a New Year's festival, and Settareh's father presents her with a single gold coin with which to buy clothes for the celebration.
“Choose wisely,” he advises. Instead of clothes, Settareh unselfishly gives most of her money to a poor beggar woman and with the rest, buys a broken blue jug. Now what? Well, the jug is very unusual. Inside, lives a pari, a Persian fairy. But things don't really start to look up from there either. Not until the spell cast on Settareh is removed, do the couple finally meet and marry.
It's very illuminating to see how this ancient story plays out in a culture wherein men and women never mix socially.
The illustrations are a perfect compliment for the "Arabian Nights" flavor of story.
A Review from Kirkus states"
“A luminescent interpretation.”
A Review fom School Library Journal states:
“Kindergarten-Grade 4-After giving most of her money to a beggar, young Settareh spends her last coins on a cracked jug instead of purchasing fabric for a new dress to wear to the prince's celebrations.
Resigned to remaining home, she discovers that the pot is inhabited by a pari that is able to grant her every wish. She attends the festival, catches the eye of the prince, leaves behind a diamond ankle bracelet, and is found by the queen. Settareh unwisely reveals the secret of the jug to her stepsisters, who steal it and instruct it to get rid of the young woman. The jug self-destructs, leaving behind six jeweled hairpins that, once placed in Settareh's hair, turn her into a turtledove. When the grieving prince befriends the bird, he finds the pins and pulls them out, thus restoring his beloved.
…Florczak's sumptuous illustrations have jewel-like tones that glow against the brownline-paper background, and traditional designs decorate the text.”
Book Awards & Honors
- ALA Notable Selection
- Booklist Editor's Choice