The Gift of the Crocodile: A Cinderella Story Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-11-20 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 11 user ratings

" Fairy Tale. CIP Summary: "In this Indonesian version of the Cinderella story, a girl named Damura escapes her cruel stepmother and stepsister and marries a handsome prince with the help of Grandmother Crocodile."This story was another Cinderella story, but with an island flavor. The "godmother" was a crocodile, which was an interesting twist. A little strange that an alligator was able to spit Damura back out after eating her. Appropriate for a fourth grader and under. " said.

"Indonesian Folklore contains folktale motifs found in Cinderella tales. This book is screaming text-to-text connections. Although, depending on a child's schema and reading level, special notes should be taken on some of the vocabulary in the story, because children will probably ask what the words mean. For example, kindle a fire, lorikeet, and sarong.
In addition, a Venn Diagram or other graphic organizer could be used with this text. Depending on the class, I would use this book for 2nd grade and up.
" said.

"I think this book does a good job of telling the story of Cinderella in a different way. It is kind of refreshing to read a different version because you are not completely sure how the story will play out. I liked how the crocodile resembled the role of the Fairy Godmother. The story even goes beyond the wedding. It was even a little entertaining when the crocodile or grandmother, asked one of the crocodiles to spit out Damura, Cinderella. The story still had the element of the shoe being lost and revealing her as the prince's love interest. In the classroom, I could use this book to explain how there are different versions of fairy tales that come from other parts of the world. The students could also identify elements that are similar to our most common version and the symbolism. I was hooked in when Damura talked to the crocodile and took care of the baby crocodile. I enjoyed this book." said.


I appreciated the emphasis on kindness to animals in this Indonesian Cinderella story from the Spice Islands. Like many Cinderella tales, it is the girl herself (Damura, in this version) that causes her own problems in that she convinces her father--who does not want to remarry--to marry the neighbor woman who becomes her evil stepmother. What is different in this telling than others I've read with the same motif, is that Damura recognizes her folly and is heartily sorry for it once the abuse begins.

I also appreciated that the crocodile--the fairy godmother character--is acknowledged as being dangerous, but because Damura treats her with respect turns into an ally. It's also interesting that Damura saying that the baby crocodile smells pleasant, when that is clearly not the truth, is portrayed as the right choice despite it being a lie, because it is the polite thing to do. In this case, politeness or being diplomatic trumps telling the truth.

***End of story spoilers ahead***
The story continuing after Damura's marriage was a surprise, as was her stepmother and stepsister's attempt to murder her. Grandmother Crocodile reprimanding the offending crocodile who swallowed Damura was hilarious as was her proclamation that no crocodile harm Damura, the Prince, or their children, but by that if Damura's stepmother or stepsister were seen, they "must" be eaten "at once."
" said.

"The first thing that really caught my attention with this telling is that this Cinderella, Damura, asks her father to remarry. A local widow "took a liking to Damura's father" and makes her a doll. Later, after her new stepmother and stepsister arrive and begin to treat her poorly, Damura cries at night, realizing she traded her happiness for a doll. I can't think of any other variations that have the Cinderella so actively involved in the remarriage or aware of the situation.

There are some elements of this telling that remind me of The Talking Eggs, which is another Cinderella-ish telling that I enjoyed. The step-sister imitating the Cinderella's actions to reap the same benefits but getting just deserts instead for being horrible. I also appreciated that this story has a folklore note at the end, which gives a bit more historical information into the origins of this and other Cinderella tales.

This is also one of the few tellings I've read that go past the day of the wedding. Damura's stepfamily continue to try and sabotage her life after her marriage, and that was cool to me. I mean, usually it's all la-de-da we're happily ever after and done. I liked seeing that the prince also treats the crocodile with respect, calling her "Grandmother" as Damura had done.

All in all, enjoyable. I mean, who doesn't like a little more nuance to a well-known story?
" said.

"This version of the Cinderella fairytale comes from the Spice Islands. Damura’s mother teaches her traditional dances and to respect the animals. When she dies, Damura is tricked into convincing her father to marry another woman in the village, who soon turns on Damura, treating her as a slave for herself and her daughter. When Damura is doing laundry at the river, she loses her old sarong, but Grandmother Crocodile gives her another made of silver. The stepsister tries to repeat Damura’s success, but after spanking a baby crocodile and being short with Grandmother Crocodile, she is given a ragged sarong covered in leeches. When the prince holds a ball to choose a bride, the stepmother and stepsister leave Damura at home, stealing her silver sarong. However, Grandmother Crocodile once again gifts the girl with a beautiful sarong, made out of gold, and matching slippers.

Like other Cinderella stories, she loses a slipper at the ball, but the prince uses it to track Damura down. Unlike most other versions, Damura’s story continues, as her stepmother and stepsister apologize, wishing to be friends. They take her on a boat ride, but then toss her overboard, where a crocodile eats her. When the prince tells Grandmother Crocodile of what happened, she gathers the other reptiles around her and forces the guilty croc to spit her out. Grandmother Crocodile brings Damura back to life and promises her and her children protection forever.

Fans of the Cinderella story will enjoy this Indonesian version. Sierra’s writing is clever and humorous, but also echoes the traditional narration style. The varying details in this story will keep readers fascinated. The author’s note at the end of the book explains the different influences used in her story, including a short history of the Cinderella story itself. Ruffins’ artwork is bold, mixing bright acrylic paints with miniature silhouettes. The illustrations vary between wide, two-page spread landscapes to intense close-ups of characters. The trees, rivers, and figures flow and weave together and evoke the landscape of the story.
" said.

" I liked this one! The story itself was great, although I think the pacing was a tad slow. And the ending was awesome! A nice change from many Cinderella stories I've read. " said.

" Really enjoyed this one. Reminded me a bit. " said.

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