When we think of Children’s literature the words “once upon a time” immediately come to mind. Fairy tales are thought to be the very essence of stories for children. The fact is, however, that fairy tales were not originally created specifically for children. They were stories told to anyone who would listen, but mainly for adults. They were part moral tales, part inside jokes told to audiences to highlight aspects of their culture and problems that may exist. Each fairy tale is tailor made for the culture for which it is created. However, there are 5 elements that appear in every one of the hundreds of versions: a girl turns from rags to riches, evil step-mom and/or sisters, a magical helper, a shoe, and a wedding.Ask yourself these questions and address them in your comments:

Why DO we associate fairy tales with children? What elements do they have that “belong” to children?

The four versions of Cinderella you will read are examples from four very different cultures. Only one was created to appeal to children only.

Which version do you think WAS created originally specifically for children? Why?

What surprised you when you read them? What did you not expect to read because you thought it may be inappropriate for children?

Pay close attention to what changes are made in each version to fit the culture for which is was created.

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