The Egyptian Cinderella

Title: The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo

Bibliography: Climo, S. (1989) The Egyptian Cinderella. New York, New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

Annotation: As a baby, Rhodopis was stolen from her home in Greece and sold as a slave in Egypt. The servant girls teased her, for she looked very different from them, and she was a slave. One day her master saw her dancing in the garden with her animal friends and declared that she would no longer go barefoot. The servant girls continued to tease her, saying that she could not sail to Memphis to see the Pharaoh because she had chores to do. While washing linens, a falcon, the symbol of the God Horus, grasped one of her slippers and flew away. Meanwhile, in Memphis, the Pharaoh grew bored until the falcon dropped the slipper into his lap. The Pharaoh took this act as a sign from the gods that he should marry the maiden whose feet fit this slipper. The Pharaoh journeyed to distant cities in search of his bride, finally Rhodopis was able to try on the slipper and the Pharaoh declared her the most Egyptian of all for her eyes were as green as the Nile, her hair as feathery as papyrus, and her skin as pink as a lotus flower.

Genre: Folktale

Grade Level: 1-4

Readers who will like this book: Young readers interested in ancient Egyptian culture and how it may influence folktales will love this book! It also teaches the reader the valuable lesson that diversity should be celebrated, not pushed under the rug.

Personal Response and rating: 5; this book, while capturing a fabulous version of Cinderella, also promotes embracing diversity. The Egyptian Cinderella is a symbol of loving yourself for who you are and not changing to fit in.

Question: What might be different about an Egyptian Cinderella, compared to the Cinderella(s) we have discussed before?

Reading Strategy:

a.) Story Board

b.) Storyboards are a sequence of cards on which the illustrations from The Egyptian Cinderella have been attached. Ask the students to create a timeline of events from the illustrations.

c.) Using a storyboard for this book will help the teacher evaluate the comprehension of the students pertaining to the book. If being used in a unit on comparing different versions of Cinderella stories, this would be a great first lesson, a great foundation for scaffolding.


Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story From China

Title: Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story From China by Ai-Ling Louie

Bibliography: Louie, A. L. (1999). Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story From China. New York, New York: Puffin Books.

Annotation: Yeh-Shen’s mother and father passed away, leaving her to be raised by her father’s second wife. She was terribly jealous of Yeh-Shen’s beauty and made her do most of the housework as punishment. The young girl found solace in her friend the fish; she fed him until he grew to an immense size. When Yeh-Shen’s stepmother found out, she killed the fish and served it for dinner. Struck with grief, the young girl mourned the death of her fish. One day, a spirit came to her and informed her that the fish’s bones had special powers and could help her if need be. One the day of the villages festival, where young men and women meet their future spouses, Yeh-Shen’s stepmother ordered her to stay home and keep watch over their fruit trees. With the help of the fish bones, Yeh-Shen arrived at the festival in beautiful clothes and gold shoes but unfortunately her stepmother was not fooled by her change in appearance so she went for a closer look. Yeh-Shen fled home, leaving behind one of her golden shoes. The king was determined to find the woman who left behind the golden shoe, and so he did.

Genre: Folktale

Grade Level: 1-4

Readers who will like this book: Young readers who enjoy folktales that focus around the notion of overcoming obstacles will enjoy this version of Cinderella, Yeh-Shen stays true to herself all while escaping the wrath of her stepmother.

Personal Response and rating: 5; having a spent a significant amount of time in China, I have grown to truly appreciate their artistic and stylistic choices found in the illustrations. That, in combination with the incorporation of Chinese culture into the story of Cinderella made this book one of my favorite versions.

Question: Knowing this is a Cinderella story from China, what predictions do you have? What may be different from the Cinderella story you’re familiar with?

Reading Strategy:

a.) Venn diagram

b.) Instruct students to create a Venn diagram: one side being the characteristics of Yeh-Shen, one side being the characteristics of the traditional or other version of Cinderella, and the middle being overlapping characteristics of both main characters. Then have students summarize what their Venn diagrams say.

c.) A Venn diagram would be an appropriate reading strategy for an book comparisons but applies especially well when comparing different version of the same folktale.



Title: Cendrillon by Robert D. San Souci

Bibliography: Souci, R. D. S. (1998). Cendrillion. New York, New York: Aladdin Paperbacks.

Annotation: When a young girl’s mother died, she left her with a magic wand. This young girl worked for a kind woman, who made her the godmother of her daughter just before she passed away. Cendrillon’s father remarried, her stepmother was cruel and made her work as a servant. She never complained but when there was an extravagant ball on the island, she desperately wanted to go. With the help her godmother’s wand, she arrives at the ball dressed as a princess and sparks fly between her and Paul! Cendrillon and her godmother must leave before midnight, before the magic wears off, leaving her shoe behind as they flee. Paul searches the island until he finds Cendrillon, the shoe fit and they lived happily ever after.

Genre: Folktale

Grade Level: 1-3

Readers who will like this book: Any young reader interested in the idea of ‘rages to riches’ will love this version of Cinderella!

Personal Response and rating: 5; the combination of colorful illustrations and the twist of the godmother narrating made this version of Cinderella fabulous!

Question: Who tells the story of Cinderella? How does the narrator affect the story?


The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece

Title: The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece by Anthony L. Manna and Soula Mitakidou


Bibliography: Manna, A. L. & Mitakidou, S. (2011). The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece. New York, New York: Schwartz & Wade Books. 


Annotation: Very similar to that of Disney’s Cinderella story, a young girl’s mother dies and she is left to her father, who remarries. Along with a stepmother, the young girl also has two-step sisters. They are very cruel to her, when she is upset she seeks guidance from her mother by visiting her grave. The prince was hosting a gathering in town, the orphan girl desperately wanted to go and so she did. The prince found her enchanting and invited the town for a second gathering. As the orphan girl was leaving, her tiny shoe got stuck in honey and wax. The prince searched the entire town for the girl whose tiny foot would fit in the tiny shoe left that was left behind. The orphan girl and the prince lived happily ever after.


Genre: Folktale


Grade Level: K-2


Readers who will like this book: Young readers who enjoy


Personal Response and rating: 4; although very similar to the version of Cinderella that I grew up with, the illustrations pulled away from the enchantments of the story for me.


Question: Who helps Cinderella in the version of Cinderella that you have heard of? 


The Irish Cinderlad

Title: The Irish Cinderlad by Shirley Climo.


Bibliography: Climo, S. (1996). The Irish Cinderlad. New York, New York: Harper Collins Publisers.


Annotation: As a young boy, Becan’s mother dies and his father remarries. His stepmother and three stepsisters send him to care for their cattle, while working in the fields he befriends a speckled bull. When his dear friend passes away, he instructs him to wear his tail as a belt and use it when he is in danger. Becan runs away from home and works in the fields for a kind gentleman, where he defeats a giant. Next, he is determined to save Princess Finola from the dragon. With the help of the speckled bull’s tail, he again overcomes a great obstacle. This time, he leaves behind one of the giant boots he won in this fight with the giant. Princess Finola orders every man in her father’s land try on the boot, and who ever the boot fits will marry her.


Genre: Folktale


Grade Level: 1-3


Readers who will like this book: Anyone interested in multiple variations of Cinderella will love the story of Becan and Princess Finola; the gender roles switch is refreshing!


Personal Response and rating: 4; although a fun spin off of the original tale of Cinderella, I felt the illustrations took away from the excitement of the story.


Question: Have you heard the story of Cinderella? What happened?