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The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo

The Korean Cinderella

by Shirley Climo, Ruth Heller (Illustrator)

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The Korean Cinderella is a typical Cinderella story with an ugly stepmother and snotty stepsister. The harsh stepmother gives Pear Blossom impossible tasks to complete, but through the help of magical creatures she is able to complete each task with ease. The stepmother grants her permission to attend a village festival once the assigned chores are complete. While making her way to the village, she encounters the prince who is enamored by her beauty. In true Cinderella fashion, Pear Blossom loses her shoe, and the prince searches the village to find the girl with one shoe. He finds Pear Blossom and pledges his intentions for marriage. The following spring, the couple are married.

Personal Reflection: I love how this story incorporates Korean words and traditions. It is fairly predictable as it follows the traditional Cinderella story line, but it is still enjoyable. This story is a great introduction to teach children about other cultures.

Extension Ideas:
1. Have children form groups and look through the book to pick out Korean words and their meanings. Discuss in group setting.
2. Watch the movie Cinderella (or read the book if time is an issue) and have children write a paper describing similarities and differences in the two stories
3. Discuss Korea and some of its customs and traditions. Show children where Korea is on a map in relation to Oklahoma ( )
  jn925584 | Jan 12, 2015 |
This is a Korean version of Cinderella. ( )
  Y-NhiVu | Nov 27, 2014 |
This book is a Korean version of the original fairy tales Cinderella. I love the fairy tales stories and I think most girls can relate to this story. Most girls want that fairy tale story when they get a prince at the end. The kids will enjoy it also because they can understand different types of Cinderella's stories. ( )
  thnguyen | Oct 4, 2014 |
I had mixed feelings about this book after reading it. I liked that it is a Korean spin on a familiar story. The elements of the story stayed true to the Korean culture. The characters all wore traditional Korean clothing and activities such as traditional dancing were depicted. I especially liked the language of the book. The book used Korean words such as “Omani,” which means mother. The author also created a mystical tone to the traditional fantasy by using descriptive and beautiful poetry. “In spring white flowers frosted the tree, and PearBlossom wore a white ribbon on her long, black braid.” Another example is, “In the autumn, when leaves from the tree blew about the courtyard like scraps of sunshine, her mother dressed Pear Blossom in a yellow gown.” However, I became wary of sharing this book with children because of certain parts. Those parts would be when Pear Blossom's mother mistreated her. Sentences such as, “She made Pear Blossom crawl through the puddles, licking up the water” and “She did not give anything to eat, not that day or the next, not so much as a kernel of rice.” These sentences are normal in Korean culture, but for American students it may be problematic to share intense and harsh punishments as these with children. The main idea of “The Korean Cinderella” is that those who are good will prevail in the end. ( )
  yyoon4 | Sep 25, 2014 |
Bibliographic Information: Shirley Climo, “The Korean Cinderella”, Illustrated by Ruth Heller, Published by HarperCollins, ©1993, 42 pages
Genre: Folktales, myth, fables and legends
Summary: Pear Blossom is beautiful little girl named after tree her dad planted when she was born. Her mother dies when she is very young and father gets married again to a woman with a daughter. Pear Blossom’s stepmother always blames her for everything and never lets her do anything. Pear Blossoms father was too old to know how she was being treated. Her stepmother never let her go to town and always threatened to get rid of her but the animals always helped her finish. The festival was coming up and Pear didn’t think she was going to get to go but her stepmother said she go if she weeded all the rice. Pear was excited until she got to the rice and seen that it would take weeks. An ox showed up and ate all the weeds. Pear was able to go to the festival. She got scared when the magistrate was coming down the road and ran off but lost her shoe first. He picked it up the shoe and went off to find her. Pear Blossoms stepmother and stepsister found her an accused her of stealing when the magistrate showed up he asked if the shoe belonged to her and then he went and asked for her hand in marriage. They lived happily ever after.
Tags: Love, Fantasy, magic
My Response: I liked that this wasn’t as traditional of a Cinderella story but just as good. When she went through something I felt her pain. I really liked all the help she got from the animals to finish her chores. It also teaches you a little bit about Korean traditions.
  EmilyBascio | May 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
This is a great resource to integrate multiculturalism and also talk about Cinderella the fair tale.
added by courtneyemahr | editCourtney E. Mahr

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shirley Climoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heller, RuthIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0064433978, Paperback)

-Climo and Heller conflate several Korean variants of Cinderella to offer up the story of Pear Blossom, a lovely girl who is sorely mistreated by her nasty stepmother and stepsister.… At once comfortingly familiar and intriguingly exotic, the text is especially noteworthy for its instructive but unobtrusive incorporation of Korean words.’—Publishers Weekly. -Heller’s paintings are exotically lush and colorful as well as engaging.… An agreeable retelling of the Cinderella story.’ —BL.

Notable 1994 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:11 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In this version of Cinderella set in ancient Korea, Pear Blossom, a stepchild, eventually comes to be chosen by the magistrate to be his wife.

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