"Mother, Oh, Mother, Bathala, Creator of the Earth, Anitos, Spirits of my ancestors, Hear me and help me..."
As Abadeha wept and prayed, she saw a beautiful woman, bathed in radiant light, who appeared to take her worries away.
So go the blessings of Cinderella's fairy godmother throughout the struggles and eventual triumphs of a young girl against her oppressors. Set in the exotic islands of the Philippines, this tale captures the mystical charm of the indigenous culture of the Filipinos. Colorful images of pre-colonial Philippine scenes, costumes, architecture, and folkways vividly enhance the enchanting tale.
This retelling of lasting value and universal appeal conveys the deep respect and reverence for nature and the earth inherent in the forever-loved story that will never grow old.
Ages 5-9. As de la Paz explains in an author's note, this story, a reconstruction of the Cinderella story from traditional Philippine folklore, has disappeared from mainstream folklore because of Spanish colonization and Americanization. In the tale, Abadeha's father is a fisherman, away much of the time, giving Stepmother and her daughters the opportunity to make the kind, hardworking Abadeha miserable. Abadeha has hard tasks to perform, such as weaving a tattered mat back together. Instead of a fairy godmother coming to the rescue, there are spirits who help her, and a ring she drops is found by the son of the island chieftain. The girl who can remove it from his finger, where it is stuck, will be his bride. This telling is long, but the details are evocative. The colored pencil art is pleasant but oddly generic. Although the characters are in traditional dress, there is no real feeling of time or place. Still, many libraries, especially those with a Filipino population, will want to have this on hand.