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The Colorful World of Latino Folktales

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dePaola, Tomie.  2002.  Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story.  New York: Putnam.

Summary:  After the death of her mother and father, Adelita is badly mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters until she finds her own true love at a grand fiesta (Verso 2002).
TypeRealistic/Wonder - because it could happen to someone and it ends with the character saying "we shall live happily ever-after."
Characters:  These characters are rounded, but one-dimensional giving the look of almost "real" characters.  The main character is Adelita, followed by care-taker Esperanza, Senor Javier, step-mother Dona Micaela, and the step-sisters, Dulce and Valentina.  The step-mother and step-sisters follow the traditional Cinderella by having cold and mean personalities.  Adelita is warm and caring, as is Javier and Esperanza. 
Setting:  The story takes place in a village in Mexico, a long time ago.  This information is given quickly in the first paragraph of the story.  Even though it does not give a date, this story is so realistic, it could have happened during today's times.
Plot:  The storyline generally follows the traditional Cinderella where the mother dies at birth and soon after the father.  Adelita is left with a wicked step-mother and two evil step-sisters.  The one major difference is in the "magic" of the fairy god-mother - there isn't one.  Instead of the magical fairy god-mother, there is a little old care-taker named Esperanza that shows Adelita where her mom's dress is so she can wear it to the fiesta and then takes her in her cart.  There are no magical elements like a pumpkin turning into a carriage.  In fact, Adelita makes a reference at the fiesta of being in disguise and calls herself "Cenicienta - or Cinderella" and in the end, Javier says "and just like Cenicienta and her Principe - Prince - we shall live...happily ever after-too!"  These references makes this story seem more believable.
Theme:  The major theme I got out of this "Cinderella" story is the same as for most Cinderella's: Good always prevails over evil.

Rating: 5 out of 5
This story captures the Mexican culture in almost every detail- from the colorful illustrations to the clothes worn by the characters!  The author, Tomie dePaola, weaves Spanish words throughout the story to enhance this culture.  This "Cinderella" story is not like the traditional Cinderella.  This folktale seems more realistic, like it could have happened in Mexico. 

Additional Feature:


Here are some quotes from my students and what they thought of this folktale:
"I didn't like it because it was too much like Cinderella"
"I like the colors"
"I like it because she looked like her mom and she did not give up"
"It has a lot to do with the culture because of her clothes and the colors"

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