Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella by Robert S. San Souci and illustrated by Brain Pinkney
Left with only a magical wand when her mother died Nanni, a blanchisseuse or washerwoman, developed a deep love
for the daughter of Madame Prosperine. After Madame Prosperine died, the care of Cendrillon fell on Nanni until her
father remarried. The new Madame Prosperine was a very cold step-mother towards Cendrillon. Her new step-mother
would not let Cendrillon do the things her younger daughter was aloud to do.
Using her magical wand, Nanni turns breadfruit into a carriage, six agoutis into six carriage horses, five field
lizards into five footmen, and Cendrillon's worn and tattered dress into a gown of sky-blue velvet. Not being
recognized by her family members, Cendrillon leaves her embroidered slipper behind as she makes her hasty exit.
San Souci brings us an adaptive Creole Cinderella story told from the fairy Godmother's point of view. Keeping
to French traditions, San Souci uses the proper French spellings of Cendrillon and Monsieur. He also mixes
in Creole words to give the story the feel of the being on an island in the Caribbean. Enclosed at the end
of the story is a Glossary of French words and phrases than may not be common to the English tongue.
San Souci keeps to the fairy tale traditional theme, of good wins over evil, when the young wealthy man returns
to the house of Monsieur Prosperine and Cendrillon foot fits inside the shoe, leaving her unkind step-mother and step-sister
Pinkey's realistic illustrations using scratchboard, luma dyes, gouache, and oil paints of reds, greens, yellows
and blues make this story a remarkable experience. A castle sitting high on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean, blue
starry nights with the wipping of the waves, and beautiful palm trees will draw readers into the experiences
of island life.
"Three taps will change one thing into another,"
"Her sweet 'Bonjou' was music. Her smile was sunshine even when clouds hid the sun."
"No, Godmother dear," she said, "No more spells." With a sigh, I touched her again, and she was as before, in her shift
San Souci, Robert S. 1998. Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella. Illust by Brain Pinkey.
New York: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. ISNB: 0-689-80668-X.