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The Colorful World of Latino Folktales

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Domitila: A Cinderella tale from the Mexican tradition

Coburn, Jewell Reinhart.  2000.  Domitila: A Cinderella tale from the Mexican tradition.  Auburn: Shen's books.

Summary:  By following her mother's admonition to perform every task with care and love, a poor young Mexican girl wins the devotion of the governor's son (Verso, 2000)
Type:  Realistic  - because it could have happened.
Characters: The main character Domitila is loving, kind-hearted, caring, and compassionate.  Timoteo is the governor's son who falls in love with Domitila.  He starts out selfish and eager to get what he wants, regardless of the cost.  In the end, he is loving and compassionate.  The stepmother and stepsisters are the same cold-hearted, selfish characters.
Setting: The setting is established quickly from the first page, "on a rancho, sun bleached and dry, in the Mexican state of Hidalgo" (Coburn p.1).  The illustrations show the Mexican culture by the use of colors, adobe ranch-style houses, the clothing, and the desert.

Plot: While Domitila's mom is ill, she goes to find work at the Governor's house as a cook.  During her employment, she never meets the Timoteo until after the death of her mother.  He goes out on a search to find the woman that made such wonderful meals and is determined to find this cook.  Domitila deals with her hateful stepmother and stepsisters as Timoteo is searching for her.  In the end, Timoteo becomes more compassionate and finds his love.  There is no magic, like in traditional Cinderella stories, but there is the spirit of love and kindness.

Theme: Goodness is always rewarded.

Rating: 5 out of 5
This is one of my favorite Mexican folktales I have read.  The illustrations capture my attention with such detail.  The expressions on the character's faces reveals such emotion and feelings.  The fact that there is no magic makes this story that much more real.

Additional Feature:
Domitila: A Cinderella Tale from the Mexican Tradition

Here are some quotes from my students:
"I love this version of Cinderella."
"I like how they mix the Mexican culture with a fairy tale."
"The pictures were beautiful and realistic."
"It was kind of long."

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