|Lunar New Year February 3, 2011
The Year of the Rabbit
Climo, S. & Heller, R. The Korean Cinderella
Notes: This is a retelling of the tale, "that is based on three variations" of the story told in Korea. The language is vivid and beautiful, and the animals that come to Pear Blossoms aid are classic Cinderella helpers: a frog, little birds, and an ox. (Many European variations have the girl receive aid from a cow, of the same family.) Illustrations are brilliantly colored and a marvelous jump-off point for art follow-ups. But: The story features a truly vicious stepmother, who used humiliation and starvation as tactics against a child. I must question why she is let off punishment in this version? This is what Bettelheim says, " In the traditional fairy tale, the hero is rewarded and the evil person meets his well deserved fate, thus satisfying the child's deep need for justice to prevail. How else can a child hope that justice will be done to him, who so often feels unfairly treated?" (The Uses of Enchantment, p 144). As a teacher who puts justice for children before all, I want to see Omoni go through it! Why not send her out to the rice paddies, with no lunch, to get some weeding done? It is this phenomenon of rewriting fairy tales to make them more palatable for modern children that sometimes takes away a crucial element. If children are tough enough to hear about Pear Blossom's barbaric treatment, they can handle a deserved unpleasant fate for her abuser. Other Korean Cinderellas to read include: Pigling: A Cinderella Story: a Korean Tale (Graphic Universe); Korean Cinderella; and Congjui & Potjui (Korean Cinderella. Korean Folktales).
Montessori Connection 6-12: A. Rice, a lesson by Sister Christina Trudeau, SND; Ed.D., included in Curriculum for the Cosmic Plan of Education and Environmental Studies. Or, B. Biology: pear trees. Zoology: Animals of the Chinese Zodiac, including the ox. C. Zoology: Amphibians/Anura/frogs. Amazing Frogs & Toads (Eyewitness Juniors), or Amphibian (DK Eyewitness Books).