Themes Across Cultures Book Report

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Great Britain

North America

Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella story from China (Louie, 1982); (Carr, 2012); (Snuggs, 2007).

Chinye: A West African folk tale (Onyefulu & Safarewicz, 1994); (Nigeriaworld, 2012); (Snuggs, 2007),

The Korean Cinderella (Climo, 1993); (Shapiro, 1993); (Snuggs, 2007).

Tattercoats: An old English tale (Webster Steel, 1976); (Advameg, 2012); (Snuggs, 2007).

The rough-face girl (Martin, 1992); (Native Languages of the Americas, 2011); (Snuggs, 2007).

Names of Cinderellas



Pear Blossom






Great Britain

Algonquin Indian

Time Period

"In the dim past," according to first publication in 850-860 AD

"Long ago," according to the book published in 1994.

"Long ago," according to the 1993 book.

"…there once dwelt"

"Once, long ago" according to the 1992 book.


"Treated roughly and not allowed to go to the springtime festival to choose her marriage partner."

"Chinye must run a dangerous errand through the forest for her mean stepmother and stepsister."

"Pear Blossom, a beautiful girl who is mistreated by her spiteful stepmother and stepsister. In order to prevent Pear Blossom from going to the village festival, they force her to complete three unreasonable tasks to keep her busy."

She is a granddaughter neglected by her grandfather. She has no friends except for a crippled gooseherd.

"Rough-Face Girl's older sisters force her to tend the fire, which scorches and scars her face. Although her face and hands have been scarred from constantly tending the fire, Rough-Face Girl wishes to marry the Invisible Being. However, she must compete with her stunning but heartless and vain sisters, for if one of them can see the handsome, rich Invisible Being and answer his sister's questions, she will win his hand in marriage."

Role In Family

Orphan living with her vindictive stepmother and unattractive stepsister

Stepchild who is forced to perform dangerous errands.



Daughter and sister.

How Her Role was Different from American Tale

She was excluded from a traditional festival

She had to run through the dangerous forest to perform an errand.

She had to perform three unreasonable tasks, which delayed her from going to the village festival.

She was a neglected granddaughter.

She had to compete against her sisters in order to marry the rich, handsome Invisible Being.

Differences in Clothing

Tunics (like long t-shirts). Women wore long tunics down to the ground, with belts, and men wore shorter ones down to their knees. Sometimes they wore jackets over their tunics. In the winter, when it was cold, people wore padded jackets over their tunics, and sometimes pants under them. In early China, poor people made their clothes of hemp or ramie. Rich people wore silk. food

Turbans. Wraparound dresses. Barefooted.

"Traditional Korean dress is called Hanbok in South Korea, and Choson-ot in North Korea. Jeogori, the short upper garment, has V-shape collar with inner and outer bands, which is to show the beautiful necks of women, and natural and soft curves of sleeve connects. Chima, the long wide skirt, can hide some flaws of body shape. For example, can make short women look tall, and skinny ones plump."

Torn petticoat and barefooted

"Necklaces and buckskin dresses.

Algonquin women wore long dresses with removable sleeves and the men wore breechcloths and leggings. Both genders wore moccasins on their feet and cloaks in bad weather."

Differences in Food

"Rice, millet, sorghum, and wheat, Soybeans, cucumbers, oranges and lemons, peaches and apricots. Ginger and anise (which we now use to make licorice). Rice wine. Boiled wheat, to make something like cream of wheat.

Chicken, which came originally from Thailand. By 4000 or 3000 BC, they were eating pork, which was native to China. Sheep and cattle, millet boiled in milk to make porridge."

"Many different spices, herbs and flavorings are used in conjunction with palm oil or groundnut oil to create deeply flavored sauces and soups often made very hot with chili peppers. Nigerian feasts are colorful and lavish, while aromatic market and roadside snacks cooked on barbecues or fried in oil are plentiful and varied."

"Kimchi. This side dish of fermented vegetables continues to be an essential part of any Korean meal. Early kimchi dishes were relatively mild, spiced with fermented anchovies, ginger, garlic, and green onions. Koreans still use these ingredients today, but the spice most closely associated with modern kimchi is red pepper powder. Korea boasts more than two hundred types of kimchi, all rich in vitamins, minerals, and proteins created by the lactic acid fermentation of cabbage, radish, and other vegetables and seafood."

A dish of scraps. Fish and chips.

"The Algonquins were semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers. That means they didn't do much farming, and moved around a lot as they collected food for their families. Besides fish and meat, the Algonquins gathered berries and wild plants to eat. They also traded with neighboring tribes to get corn, and made maple syrup from tree sap."


Elderly spirit and a magic fish

Mysterious old woman in the forest directs her to a magic gourd filled with riches.

"With the help of kind magical frogs, sparrows, and huge black oxen, Pear Blossom completes the tasks in time to attend the festival."

The gooseherd has a magic pipe.

No Magic


She overcomes the wickedness of her stepmother and stepsister and marries the King. The stepmother and stepsister are stoned to death.

When Chinye returns with a gourd filled with riches, the stepmother sends her daughter Adanma to do the same.

Adanma's greed prevents her from successfully completing the task, causing the family to lose its possessions and leave the village.

Pear Blossom attends the festival and ultimately becomes the magistrate's bride

Tattercoats and the gooseherd journey to watch the processing of the Prince's ball from which Tattercoats has been excluded. She meets a wealthy man who recognizes her beauty despite her rags.

The man proposes marriage and convinces her to meet him at the ball at midnight, revealing that he is the Prince and boldly introducing Tattercoats to all as his bride. Finally, as the gooseherd plays his magical pipe, Tattercoats' rags become a beautiful dress, resulting in a happy finish.

Rough-Face succeeds and gets to marry the Invisible Being.

Moral Lesson

"If you want to be treated kindly and with respect, you must treat others kindly and with respect."

"Goodness, respect, and obedience are rewarded."

"Triumph of wisdom over wickedness."

"The importance of inner beauty."

"One can win with humility and resolve."

Culturally-Specific Information

The Spring festival at which brides choose their husbands.

Dangerous Nigerian forest. Water gourds. Carrying heavy items, such as water gourds, on one's head. Turbans. Wraparound dresses. Barefooted.

Village festival; Magistrate rather than Prince.

British Village;


Spirituality of the Invisible Being. In order to succeed, one must see the Invisible Being and answer his sister's questions. Success leads to marriage.

3. Lesson Plan

a. Monday: Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella story from China (Louie, 1982)

i. Reading/Vocabulary/Geography

1) Create large, colorful chart based on the above chart but limited to this story. The chart will hang on the wall for the children to see.

2) Place a large map of the world on the wall and put a small Chinese flag on China.

3) Create large cardboard images of Ancient Chinese dress for men, women and children. The images will hang on the wall for the children to see.

4) Read the story to the children.

5) After reading, ask "What is a fairy tale?" Have children raise their hands and answer; write their answers on the board as they give them.

6) Ask what we learned from Yeh-Shen (looking for moral of story). Have children raise their hands and answer; write their answers on the board as they give them.

7) Ask what other fairy tales we know. Have children raise their hands and answer; write their answers on the board as they give them.

8) As which other fairy tale reminds them of Yeh-Shen (guiding them to Cinderella). Have children raise their hands and answer; write their answers on the board as they give them.

9) Hand out pieces of paper and pencils to the children. Have them put their names and the date at the top left corner of the paper. Have them draw a line dividing the paper into two columns. Have them write "Yeh-Shen" at the top of the left-hand column and "Cinderella" at the top of the right-hand column. Draw two columns on the board similar to their papers. Ask how Yeh-Shen and Cinderella are alike and how they are different. Have children raise their hands and answer; write their answers on the board as they give them. Have the children write the appropriate similarities and differences in each column. Anticipated word set specific to Yeh-Shen:

a. Orphan

b. Festival

c. Spirit

d. Tunic

e. Rice

f. Oranges

g. Lemons

h. Peaches

i. Wine

ii. Diversity/Art

1) Direct the children to the images of Ancient Chinese dress for men, women and children. Ask how our clothes are like their and how they are different.…[continue]

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