Cinderella of the Nile by Beverly Naidoo, illustrated by Marjan Vafaeian
Cinderella is one of those classic tales, retold in many cultures with different twists. We even did a whole book flight on Cinderella that explored the history with recommendations for different age (Cinderella: A Flight) then, another one that highlighted many different retellings (Cinderella Around the World).
And just this past year, one of our most respected picture book authors, Beverly Naidoo, has penned a wonderful retelling based on the original Egyptian Cinderella. And what a powerful story it is! In this early Cinderella tale, our heroine is Rhodopis, a Greek girl who is sold into slavery by bandits and taken to Egypt. And that’s only the beginning of her journey. When her fellow slave girls torment her, rubbing sand into her food, her resolve grows: “Blow wind blow, watch me bend, not break!” Along the way she becomes friends with the storyteller Aesop and a host of playful animals. Her master gives her a pair of beautiful rose-red slippers, making three other servants jealous. But when Horus, the falcon, sweeps in to steal her slipper, Rhodopis has little idea that this act will lead her to the King of Egypt. Rather than moping in the slave hut, she is soon dancing by the banks of the Nile – and weaving her spell on the Pharaoh. The illustrations are beautifully detailed and a wonderful complement to Naidoo’s poetic words. Highly recommended!