Once upon a time in Greece, fate left a young girl an orphan. Her stepmother was so hateful that she counted every drop of water the orphan drank! But with the help of Nature's blessings, the orphan was showered with gifts: brilliance from the Sun, beauty from the Moon, gracefulness from the Dawn'and even a tiny pair of blue shoes from the Sea. When the prince comes to visit their village, he only has eyes for the mysterious beauty. Children will love this fanciful folk retelling of the Cinderella story, accompanied by luminous watercolor illustrations by Giselle Potter.
Grades 1-4. This version of the familiar fable features many traditional elements, including the wicked stepmother and stepsisters, a prince’s quest for a girl whose foot fits a delicate left-behind shoe, and—of course—a happy ending, but also introduces some new twists. In this story the fairy godmother is actually the spirit of the girl’s own deceased mother, which feels somehow more satisfying than the better-known rendition. Also, the prince meets the “orphan” in church, not at a ball. Flat, stylized watercolor illustrations add a folkloric air, while Mediterranean colors (terra-cotta, turquoise, gold, and green) emphasize the Greek setting. Even though the text is accessible and not too lengthy, this will also appeal to sophisticated young readers who are familiar with other versions and are interested in making cultural or literary comparisons.