Traditional Literature

French, Vivian, reteller.  “Cinderella.”  The Kingfisher Book of Fairy Tales.  Illus. Peter

Malone.  New York:  Kingfisher, 2000.  Print.

Cover image:

Summary:  Cinderella’s father died, she was forced to live with her stepmother and step sisters.  She had to dress in rags, work, and clean.  Seeking a bride, the Prince sent out invitations to all the women.  Cinderella had to make them dresses and couldn’t attend.  A fairy godmother appeared and granted Cinderella a beautiful dress, glass slippers, hair, and a carriage, but she had to leave by midnight.  Cinderella danced with the Prince, forgot about the time, and ran out at midnight dropping her glass slipper.  The Prince searched for the women who fit the glass slipper.  At last he found Cinderella and they lived happily ever after.

Cinderella is a fairy tale.  It features a fairy godmother who grants Cinderella the beauty to attend the Prince’s ball.  Cinderella’s character is good and the stepmother and sister’s characters are bad.  This story has an unknown author so it has been retold.  This story is geared for ages 4-8.

Balouch, Kristen, reteller.  The King & the Three Thieves:  A Persian Tale.  Illus. author.

New York:  Penguin, 2000.  Print.

Cover image:

Summary:  King Abbas, the king of Persia couldn’t eat dinner, the fish was moving.  He consulted his vizier who guided him to ending the hunger of his kingdom.  The king, dressed in rags, went to help those in need.  He found three men, fed them, and helped in their plan to rob the king.  If caught, the king promised to set them free with his magical mustache.  After they robbed the king, King Abbas had the thieves arrested.  In the end King Abbas set them free because “power can be used for good or for evil” and his promise.  They all lived together ensuring no hunger in the kingdom (Balouch).

The King & the Three Thieves is a folk tale.  It is a story about Persian culture.  Three thieves robbed the greedy king for the good of the people to overcome punishment.  The characters are stereotyped, the king as being greedy while the three men are thieves.  It has an unknown author so it has been retold.  This book is geared for ages 4-8.

Teacher Response

Comparison and Explanation:  This version of Cinderella by Vivian French is a lovely story for children to hear, but not to read.  The use of vocabulary and language it too difficult for the age level intended, but would be appropriate for older students.  Kristen Balouch’s version of The King and the Three Thieves is a well illustrated folk tale and is appropriately written for the age level.  I think the story was told for good intentions, to eliminate hunger.  On the other hand, it addresses thievery to the point of no punishment.  I don’t think this is a good concept to portray to children.  All crimes committed have a consequence of some form of punishment.  Today, even if it is for the good of people, you can not steal anything because it is against the law.

Of the two books, I think The King and the Three Thieves has better illustrations that add to the text.  Each page has large, bright illustrations that show the emotions of the characters and create the mood of the story.  I also think this book does better identifying and transmitting the culture.  It shows the dress, building structure, and vivid colors used in the Persian culture.  Traditional literature is a part of our children’s lives whether it be fairy tales, fables, myths, legends, or folk tales and we need to make sure that it is used in a positive way to enhance the literacy skills of a child, making reading more enjoyable.

***Cross Curriculum Connection***  Check out the website “Art Aloft” to connect art along with literacy elements.  Kristen Balouch and her illustrations are featured on this site.



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