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Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella by Jewell…
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Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella

by Jewell Reinhart Coburn

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This is a variant on the Cinderella story from Cambodia. Anghat is given the sandals by a spirit after she's been betrayed and mistreated by her stepmom and stepsister and even her father. The sandals lead her to a prince, but her jealous family turns violent. Things are set to rights with more magic. ( )
  t1bclasslibrary | Nov 26, 2013 |
Taken from Le Conte Cendrillo Ches Les Cham, a late nineteenth-century essay written by the French folklorist Adhémard Leclère, this Cinderella variant from the Khmer people of Cambodia makes its English-language debut in this picture-book retelling. The author, Jewell Reinhart Coburn, is a folklorist herself, and has retold two other Cinderella variants: Domitila: A Cinderella Tale from the Mexican Tradition and Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella.

Following the trials and tribulations of its eponymous heroine, Angkat is the story of a dutiful girl who finds herself transformed into the family servant, after her father remarries and her malicious stepmother insists that her daughter be the 'Number One Child.' Even after Angkat's life is transformed, thanks to the aid of the Spirit of Virtue - her erstwhile fish companion, killed by her jealous stepsister Kantok - who has one of her lovely golden sandals spirited away to the king's son, the poor girl cannot escape the scheming of her family, who lure her away from her new home in the palace, and crush her to death! Will Angkat and the prince manage to live happily ever after, or has death separated them forever...?

This was a fascinating example of the 'persecuted heroine' tale type (number 510A in the Aarne-Thompson folklore classification system), because the heroine's mistreatment occurs, not just at the hands of her step-family, but also at the hands of her father. I don't think I've read another version of this wide-spread story where that was the case. The accompanying illustrations by Edmund Flotte were quite expressive, although sometimes his faces seemed a little exaggerated to me. Still, this was an engaging retelling of a relatively unknown variant - here in the West, anyway - of the Cinderella story, and although it won't be making it to my list of favorite fairy-tales, I am glad to have encountered it. Recommended to young folklore lovers, as well as to any reader interested in Cinderella across cultures. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Mar 31, 2013 |
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To my son, Dr. William III, who trekked with me in Cambodia; and my daughter, Ashley Jewell, for her scholarly translation of French-Khmer lore. JRC
To my son, Joshua, who is always in my heart; and special thanks to Juliet Cortez, Stella Chan, Joel Suarez, and Ashlynne Quinsaat for modeling. EF
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A Cambodian version of Cinderella in which a poor girl marries a prince, is killed by her jealous stepfamily, and then, through her virtue, returns to become queen.

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