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The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo

The Korean Cinderella

by Shirley Climo

Other authors: Ruth Heller (Illustrator)

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Pear Blossom's father remarries a woman with a daughter, whose name is Peony. Pear Blossom father falls ill and Pear blossom is mistreated by her stepfamily. Pear Blossom must perform impossible tasks for her stepmother, such as filling a leaky water jar and polishing grains of rice. She succeeds with the help of a frog and birds by which she is punished severely by her stepmother. Pear Blossom is able to attend the village festival and loses her sandal in a stream. A magistrate who notices her on the road traces her to her house using her sandal.
  KButterfield | Dec 7, 2016 |
The illustrations in this book are remarkable. Their bright, lifelike quality fairly jumps from the pages. The detail in the braided baskets, flowers, and jewels is impressive. The rich, vibrant reds, greens and oranges give the illustrations power. Ruth Heller is one of my favorite illustrators.

The story unfolds with the natural fairytale quality. “Long ago in Korea, when magical creatures where as common as cabbages, there lived an old gentleman and his wife.”

When Pear Blossom’s mother dies, her father goes to the village matchmaker. He weds a widow with a daughter named Peony. The stepmother instantly over works Pear Blossom. Her elderly father becomes too ill to deal with the situation, even when the stepfamily addresses Pear Blossom as Little Pig or Pigling. When her stepmother gives Pear Blossom impossible tasks, a magical frog comes to her aid. But, her stepmother punishes her severely. This continues with sparrows cleaning the rice and a bowl reading the rice paddies. This gives her time to attend the village festival. On the way there, a palanquin carrying a young nobleman crowds are off the road. She loses her sandal in the stream. While attending the festival, Pear Blossom is bullied by her stepmother and stepsister. The nobleman brings her straw sandal and asks Pear Blossom to marry him. She runs away in shyness but when springtime comes, the magistrate sends a go-between to arrange the marriage.

The book ends with an author’s note discussing versions of Cinderella in Korea and goblins in Korean fairy tales. The illustrator explains that the patterns and other items found in the pictures come from various places in Korea.

The book is a fascinating version of Cinderella and would be enjoyed by children aged seven and up. ( )
  Bonnie_Ferrante | Jul 10, 2016 |
I prefer Heller's illustrations for her children's grammar and science books, but I agree with Climo that she was a good choice for this. Although the text didn't quite ring true to my ears, the notes do explain that both author and illustrator did the research to make the story authentic to the Korean traditions. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
GENRE: Folklore.
USE: Studying Cinderella.
MEDIA: Paint and patterns.

A girl named Pear Blossom is raised by a loving mother and father until her mother dies. Her father remarries Omoni and gets another daughter named Peony. Pear Blossom's father gets frail and dies. Omoni and Peony treat Pear Blossom like a servant. She has to cook, clean , and tend the house. Eventually they call her Pigling for having a pigtail. They tell her to fix a leaky jug. A gigantic frog helps her. They don't believe her. They tell her to polish rice. A flock of sparrows help her. They don't believe her. A magical ox helps her weed the rice paddies. They don't believe her. Pear Blossom loses one of her sandals next to the Magistrate at the town festival. He eventually comes and finds her and they live happily ever after. This is a fairy tale. ( )
  HannahChesnutt | Feb 9, 2016 |
I did not find this book as enjoyable as The Persian Cinderella, but still found the book extremely informative. The book contained many of the elements of the original Cinderella story, but had a cultural twist that made it its own. The only reason why I did not find this story to be as enjoyable as the Persian version, was that I felt that the main character, Pear Blossom, was underdeveloped and did not have as much personality to her that made her stick out and really own her place in the book. I did not find myself rooting for her as I do with most of the Cinderella characters in these types of books. I did pity her and found her situation to be unfortunate, but her character did not really peak my interest. That being said, the book still was very informative and gave a lot of insight into Korean culture and how this classic story was told in different ways in Korea. One thing I really loved about how the book was written was that the author included many Korean words in the book with a translation to what it means: “Pear Blossom called the woman Omoni, or mother.” Finally, the illustrations in this book actually surpassed that of the Persian version of this story. There pages were there were no words, and yet the pictures really spoke volumes. The colors were vibrant and popped out of the page to really signify how exciting the festivals and Korean culture could be. In conclusion, the book was very effective for educational purposes, and while the story and plot was interesting and flowed well, I found the characters to be underdeveloped. ( )
  EmilyXia | Sep 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (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 editionscalculated
Heller, RuthIllustratorsecondary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:54 -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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