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The Egyptian Cinderella Paperback – February 28, 1992

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (February 28, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064432793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064432795
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In mellifluous prose and majestic illustrations, these collaborators present an inventive twist on the classic tale. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-- A stunning combination of fluent prose and exquisitely wrought illustrations. Climo has woven this ancient tale, a mixture of fact and myth, with clarity and eloquence. The beauty of the language is set off to perfection by Heller's arresting full-color illustrations. The story of Rhodopis, a Greek slave girl in ancient Egypt, is an interesting variant of the traditional Cinderella legend. Because of her rosy complexion and fair hair, Rhodopis is scorned and teased by the Egyptian servant girls who work for her kind but disinterested master. Rhodopis' happy fate, becoming the wife of Pharaoh Amasis (570-526 ..), is accomplished through the intercession of the great falcon, symbol of the god Horus. When the majestic bird deposits one of Rhodopis' rosy-gold slippers, a gift from her master, in the lap of the Pharaoh, he determines this to be a signal from the gods to marry the maiden whose foot it fits. Powerful visual presentations reminiscent of the figures on Egyptian frieze paintings and carvings, colorful birds and animals that pulse with life, and information about Egyptian mythology and civilization are subtly interwoven into the traditional folktale. This will certainly be a winner for story hours, as well as a useful resource for the study of Cinderella through the ages and throughout the world. --Martha Rosen, Edgewood Sch . , Scarsdale, NY
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

The illustrations are gorgeous and the story is beautifully told.
Joan Silvia
A very good Cinderella story, which just happens to be an actual myth, and is based in fact.
She was indeed the Cinderella who had her slipper taken by the great falcon god Horus.
J. A. Danziger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Henderson on June 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is not "racist". The fairy tale is based upon the tale of "Rhodopis", Greek word for 'rosy cheek or sunburned', in antiquity. "Rhodopis" stories were popular Greek tales among ancient Greeks since the 6th century BC, told in different versions. A well told account in one of these older versions had her finance a pyramid in her honor, the Pyramid of Mycerinus or Menkera. Shirley Climo's version is based upon these versions of "Rhodopis", Strabo's "Rhodopis" is an archetypal Cinderella from the 1st century BC. He immortalized a woman by the same name in what historians consider the first "Cinderella" basing his story on both facts and fictions. The woman who's story is somewhat based upon was believed to be the beautiful Rhodopis born in Northern Greece, kidnapped by pirates, sold to a man on the island of Samos, a fellow slave, a homely little man called Aesop, used to tell her stories of animals. When she was grown the man in Samos sold the girl in Naucratis, bought by Charaxos in Egypt who spoiled her as if she was his own daughter giving presents of jewels and beautiful clothes, she later married a Pharaoh. She is of whom some Greeks believed the Pyramid of Mycerinus or Menkera were build by, while others dispute this. One thing can not be disputed is that by Strabo times and many centuries afterwards, "Rhodopis" was renowned through out ancient Greece and Rome for her beauty, promoting various different versions of "Rhodopis" stories. The wind according to Strabo takes away one of her rose red slippers, an eagle according to Aelian's version. It is a historical fact that a Greek maiden did marry Pharaoh Amasis (Dynasty XXVI, 570-536 BC), Amasis was actually the king's Greek name. His birth name was Ahmose II, who was of common origins.Read more ›
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33 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm surprised to hear this book described as racist. The inaccuracies in that review leave me to wonder whether the poster actually read the book.
The heroine's name, Rhodopis, referenced her sunburned skin. A real person may have inspired the fable, a light-skinned slave who married a Pharaoh.
The other girls were not step-sisters as the reviewer states, but servants. Rhodopis was a mere slave, making their unkind treatment of her more logical. Due to their rank in the Ancient Egyptian class system, she would be expected to do the less-desirable chores. For a lowly slave to be favored by their master would spawn jealousy and resentment. I don't recall any inference that their demeanor related to their skin color, and the reviewer overlooks the kindly Master and Pharaoh also being dark-skinned.
Such hotly-debated subjects a the race of Egyptians or of Cleopatra have no bearing on the story. Rhodopis is a Greek slave girl, and is neither described as Egyptian, nor called Cleopatra.
A good story with interesting historical references, it's a shame to see it dismissed as racist by a reviewer who clearly has overlooked many details of the book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By ...Loggie... on August 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
This retelling of Cinderella is rather different from the classic version, but still retains much of the same plot. Rhodopis, a Greek slave, is picked on by the Egyptian servants in her master's household. She befriends the animals, and dances for them often. One time, her master saw her dancing and was so impressed that he gave her a pair of slippers gilded in rose-red gold.

When the servant girls go to visit the pharaoh, Rhodopis is left behind to do the washing. A falcon steals one of her slippers, and brings it to the pharaoh, who decides to search for and marry the girl whose foot fits the slipper.

The suddenness of the pharaoh deciding to search for and marry Rhodopis annoys me, but other than that the story is told very well, and the words flow nicely. The illustrations in this book are very beautiful, but slightly different from those I am used to. The manner in which animals and plants appear on every page, especially when Rhodopis is around, is a nice touch.

This book is a good variant on a popular story, and the pictures make it very memorable. A very good book.

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Climo and Heller are a superb team. This is not only an excellent book for a children's comparative literature study on fairy tales, but also for examining ancient Egyptian art. Heller's work contains surprisingly accurate illustrations of ancient Egyptian decorative motifs and historical and cultural traditions. Students can compare Heller's work to the real thing and find many similarities, such as the lotus blossom architectural columns, the Pharaoh's crook and whip, the feather-patterned jewelry, the false beards worn by royalty, the distinctive combination side-view/frontal-view depiction of humans, etc. Climo's historical notes at the end of the book are fascinating. Her enchanting tale also provides a focal point for class discussions of racial prejudice. This is a gem of a book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anne-Marie G VINE VOICE on August 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I had to read a version of the Egyptian story when I was in the 6th grade,I don't think it was this exact take on the tale, however I remember enjoying it very much--it opened me up to people across the world sharing the same story in different ways. Climo seems to have really zeroed in on that idea, with all of her various retellings of the Cinderella tale from all over the world.

As usual, her writing is great, it completely creates the characters and I really enjoyed reading the story. The illustrations are a little better that I thought them to be, upon thought. I feel the faces were not as nice as they could have been, nor the colors quite right. But I was amused by all of the characters always being drawn in profile as if they were Egyptian hieroglyphs.

In this story Cinderella is a slave girl who likes to dance, and who's master buys her special dancing shoes (this and her greek heritage) sets her apart from the local egyptian women.

I really was intrigued by the explaination that Climo gives at the end about this Cinderella and how she was actually a real person, it made me want to read up on her (Cinderella that is).
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