There once was a girl who had an evil Stepmother and two evil Stepsisters who treated her badly. They used to send her to sleep among the cinders… We all know this story, as it has been told many times in many different ways. But this little picture book for young children, retold by Chloe Perkins and illustrated by Sandra Equihua, has a very big difference: it is Cinderella in Mexico, and the famous tale of the glass slipper now vibrates with the colors and flavor of Mexican folklore. From the house where they live in to the color of their skin, this take on the Cinderella story makes for a very fresh look.
I loved the drawings, and my children enjoyed the story. However, it would have been wonderful if the text had the same detail and finesse that the illustrations have to capture Mexico. In my home country there are no kings or princes, and there never were… and that takes a bit away from the exercise to transplant the tale to a new environment. The base of the written tale is the Charles Perrault version, closest to its Disney form — with a big difference when the time comes for the Stepsisters to try the shoe on. But Sandra Equihua’s illustrations are so beautiful and unique that they made the tale feel closer to home. It was great to see Cinderella with her beautiful brown skin and dressed in a traditional folkloric dress, her hair up in Frida Kahlo style tresses with flowers intertwined. It is wonderful to be able to show my kids the magic of this story with my culture reflected in the images they see.
Here’s a peek from inside the book!
About the Creators
Chloe Perkins, Author
Sandra Equihua, Illustrator
Sandra Equihua is an illustrator, painter, and animated character designer. She was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. Her illustration clients have included Sony Pictures, McGraw Hill, WEA, Disney, WB, Nickelodeon, and the California State Fair. Her paintings have been exhibited in various galleries both in Mexico and the US. Equihua won an Emmy Award for her character designs on El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera (Nickelodeon), the highly-acclaimed animated television series she co-created with her long-time collaborator and husband, Jorge R. Gutierrez. She also won an Annie Award for her character designs on The Book of Life (Dreamworks).
I believe it benefits kids to read classic tales with an ethnic flavor. As you probably know, there are hundredes of versions of the Cinderella clasic. Some even feature a Cinder boy! You might enjoy my blog post which reviews several of them. http://gaylehswift.com/cinderella-around-the-world/
Thank you so much for your comment, Gayle! And thanks too for the post! I read it and found a ton of books I was not aware of! I’m particularly intrigued by the Chinese version of the story, as well as the Irish-lad one. I have to check those out!
I love retelling of fairy-tales like this – and the illustrations here look gorgeous. You raise an interesting question about the depth to which retellings should tap into the culture of their setting. And as a PS, joining your conversation above – I love Yeh-Shen too and Ed Young’s illustrations are definitely worth seeking out. Thank you for sharing your post with #DiverseKidLit
Thank you for your comments and for visiting, Marjorie! I’m very glad you enjoyed the illustrations. And thanks for hosting the blog hop!