Cinderella of the Nile

Tiny Owl. Jul. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781910328293.
Gr 2-4–While Charles Perrault may have popularized the European version of “Cinderella,” author/reteller Naidoo recounts the tale’s earlier history in an introduction. Cinderella likely had its start in ancient Greece with a rosy-cheeked girl named Rhodopis. The beautiful girl is stolen from her family and sold into slavery, winding up in Egypt. Rhodopis befriends another enslaved person named Aesop, a storyteller. Because she doesn’t smile, the red-haired Rhodopis is again sold further down the Nile but carries with her a bit of Aesop’s wisdom. There she is purchased by an elderly Greek merchant named Charaxos. The other women and girls enslaved by Charaxos resent the preferential treatment given to the Rhodopis and purposely neglect to tell her about the pharaoh’s feast. A red slipper that was given to Rhodopis by Charaxos is stolen by Florus the Falcon who soon drops it in the garden of the pharaoh. Intrigued, the pharaoh sets out to find the foot that can fit into it. Stylized, highly textured illustrations appear on single pages and spreads highlighted against generous white space.
VERDICT A sophisticated retelling, though there are no source notes included. This may be an interesting variant and a useful addition to library collections.

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