Thursday, April 1, 2021

Review of "Yeh Shen: A Play," by Brenda Parkes

 Review of

Yeh Shen: A Play, by Brenda Parkes ISBN 0763567485

Five out of five stars

Cinderella story from China that dates from the ninth century

At 20.5 inches by 14.5 inches, this book would be difficult for the youngest of readers to manipulate well enough to read it by themselves. However, it would be an excellent choice for a large reading circle where one person is reading it to a large group of children. The text is large enough so that it could easily be read by children several feet away.

 This story will be recognized by all that read it or have it read to them as a variation of the Cinderella story of Western literature. The main character (Yeh Shen) is a poor girl that is forced by her stepmother and stepsister to do all the work in their house. Her only friend is a fish that she brings rice to and communicates with.

  The stepmother tries to sever the bond between Yeh Shen and the fish, but there is magic involved. When the local king has a spring festival, Yeh Shen attends in very elaborate garments provided to her. When she encounters her step relatives she is forced to flee, and she leaves one of her slippers behind. The young king saw her at the festival and has his servants scour the kingdom in search of her. They eventually find her in the most unlikely of places and Yeh Shen is identified as the woman at the festival. The king and Yeh Shen are married and are happy for the rest of their lives.

 The story known as Cinderella is one of the oldest and independently cross cultural of all the fairy tales. The basic story is identified as appearing in Greece in the first century BC and identifiable variants are present in the folk tales of many cultures. Therefore, this is a great book for multicultural studies, for it demonstrates that some ideas are of general human origin and independent of a specific culture.

No comments:

Post a Comment