The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-07-12 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 19 user ratings

"Year Published: 1998

This story is a middle eastern version of Cinderella. While the story is mostly the same, there are many parts that are different. This time Cinderella is still working for her family and dressed in rags, but instead of a fairy godmother, she has a unique talking fish who gets her set up to go to the ball. Instead of losing a glass slipper, she loses a golden sandal. She is not running from anyone in particular, but someone finds her shoe and needs to then meet her. I found this version refreshing from the traditional Cinderella story because it is familiar yet a little unique.
" said.

"I enjoyed this. The illustrations are attractive and by description were quite the effort to craft and create. This version of the Cinderella story in a Middle Eastern community has some cultural flare that was neat to point out to my girls such as henna and arranged marriages by the mother of the groom. While of course there is the feminist streak that wants to speak out about certain injustices the base tell of Cinderella was present in Maha's tale and her magical red fish in lieu of a fairy godmother. Reading this one is a special time to point out how our lives are different and how no matter where you live, it is important to be kind and not taken over by lesser emotions and cruelty from a jealous heart. And then of course, karma.

We own this one. I bought it off ThriftBooks to go with Wayfarers Ancients lesson plans studying ancient history.
" said.

"A little girl named Maha convinces her widowed father to marry the widow next-door. Her stepmother, jealous of her skills and beauty, overworks and under feeds her when the father is away. When Maha frees a talking fish, her stepmother threatens to beat her. The fish provides her with a gold coin. As time passes, the fish helps Maha over and over.

One day, he provides beautiful clothing for her to attend the wedding of a master merchant. On the way home she loses her golden sandal in the river. And so the story continues until she is wed and happy.

This version comes from Iraq and contains reference to Allah.

There is an illustrator’s note at the end of the book explaining the complex, detailed, and beautiful techniques used to make the illustrations. The pictures are detailed, fascinating, and expressive.

Well worth taking a look.
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"This beautiful told Iraqi Cinderella story includes elements of Middle Eastern culture, such as painting feet with red henna stain. Maha is the daughter of a poor fisherman, whose wife had drowned. As in other versions of Cinderella, he remarries a woman who mistreats her. Instead of a fairy godmother, Maha is given good fortune by a magic red fish that she kindly saves by throwing it back into the water. Instead of glass slippers, Maha will wear golden sandals to the wedding feast of the master merchant of the town. Tariq, the brother of the bride finds her lost sandal and his mother sets out to find the owner. The lesson of the story, that it is inner beauty and kindness that is important, is clearly evident. It is wonderful to see the references to the Middle Eastern culture throughout the story. " said.

"Student Name: Chris Maynard

Purpose: Cinderella Variant

Genre: Traditional Literature

Format: Picture Book

Grades: Primary through Middle School (depending on purpose)

Subjects/Themes: See the bookshelves above.

School Use: Much promise at different levels. In the primary grades, this book can simply provide some much-needed exposure to a different cultural take on the popular Cinderella tale and is great for read aloud purposes. At the intermediate and middle school grade levels, this book can be paired with another Cinderella variant for the sake of comparison and contrast, and to explore/discuss the themes of love, identity and treating others the way you wanted to be treated.

Review: I don't remember from this picture book, though it was very similar to the Grimm version of Cinderella, with the sandal lost after a party replacing the slipper lost after the ball. Thankfully, this version was not as gruesome as the Grimm version, which made the mean step-sisters pay by having their eyes peck out by crows.
" said.

"I give this two stars because the pictures were okay and the writing was decent, but I absolutely hated the story!!! It enhances the petty aspects of the Cinderella story and does nothing to enrich the good parts. The father pretty much says that ALL stepmothers will be jealous of their stepchildren (that is, it isn't just one jerky woman's issue with Cinderella!) Moreover, the romance was pathetic and revolting--the "prince" figure finds "Cinderella's" sandal where she dropped it by the bridge the night before (they had not met prior to this, mind you--she had been at a women's only party prior to a townswoman's wedding) He thinks the sandal is so dainty and beautiful that he simply must find the woman to whom it belongs and then he goes to his mother and says he wants her to find that woman to be his bride. Um, wow. I know fairytales can be "superficial" but at least in the regular telling Cinderella and the Prince do MEET and we can hope it's a true love-at-first-sight connection. That any marriage should be founded based on the looks of a SHOE...!!! My feminist views and my romantic ideals were both offended by this tale. " said.

"The Golden Sandal by Rebecca Hickox is a Middle Eastern view on Cinderella. Maha is a young girl who lives in the Middle East with her father. She begs her father to marry the neighbor, so she could have a mother, who turns out to be a mean stepmother. Maha befriends a fish who helps her fulfill her stepmothers demanding requests. The daughter of the master merchant is to be married, and every women in town attends her henna ceremony. Maha really wants to go, so the fish sends her a beautiful gown, a pearl comb and a pair of golden sandals. Maha was told to remember to leave before her stepmother so she could get home before her. She ran home to try and beat her stepmother home and tripped, loosing one golden sandal. Tariq, the brother of the bride, found her golden slipper the next day in the stream. Tariq's mother went house to house searching for the owner of the shoe. Maha was shoved in the bread oven hidden from the mother searching for the one person who fit the golden shoe. Maha was ordered to come out of the oven, and the golden shoe perfectly fit her foot. Maha and Tariq were then happily married.

There is little white space in the story, and many traditional words from the middle eastern culture. This story would be great for grade 2-4, due to the story being somewhat lengthy for a picture book.
" said.

"Summary: The Golden Sandal is a middle eastern Cinderella story about a girl names Maha. Her mother drowned when she was little and her father remarried her stepmother. Her father is gone often fishing and Maha is left with her stepmother and stepsister. The story is about Maha finding a red fish that is magical. She spared him his life, and he offers to help her whenever she needs it. The fish is there for Maha throughout her life and helps her to achieve her goals that are not easily attainable. The fish and his magic allow Maha to attend a wealthy wedding where the golden sandal becomes the key to the “Cinderella” story when it is found by a man that wants to find Maha and make her his wife.
I really enjoyed this story. It did not feel like the Cinderella story was changed in a way that forced it to fit the middle eastern culture, it seemed very well written. I appreciated all of the details that made the culture come alive such as the names, food, chores, traditions, and clothing. I think that anyone who read this story could appreciate it for what it was and understand what the moral of the story was about even if they were not of the middle eastern culture. Although all could appreciate it, I would love to see how middle eastern students react to a book that represents their culture with such a traditional story. The end of the story has a bit a humor that can be enjoyed so much because of the great illustrations that support it.
" said.

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