Monday, June 15, 2009

Four Fabulous Folk Tales!

In Language Arts, we have been comparing and contrasting.
Cinderella folk tales
from around the world.

First, we read each story. Next, in groups of five, we organized information about the main characters, the setting, and the plot on chart paper.

We brainstormed high-level adjectives and verbs to describe the characters and setting.

Finally, each group wrote a short summary of each folk tale. Notice the high-level vocabulary used in each retell.

The book Cinderella, by Marcia Brown, is about a young lady who falls in love with a respectful prince. She has two crafty step-sisters who are jealous of her. In addition, she has a cruel step-mother who gives her exhausting chores. When her magical godmother arrives, she transforms a pumpkin into a mind boggling carriage and tiny mice into large horses. In a wink, Cinderella was at the fancy ball. There she met a benevolent prince. After that, she sprinted home because her courteous godmother told her to be home before midnight. While she was running, she lost one of her glass slippers, and the handsome prince found it. He had his finest men search the kingdom for the lovely lady who lost the shoe. Cinderella tried on the sparkling clear slipper, and it fit like a glove. They married and lived happily ever after.

Yeh-shen, by Ai-Ling Louie, tells the story of a beautiful young girl known as Yeh-shen. She lived with a crafty step-mother and vain step-sister in a cave village in China. Yeh-shen had a magical fish and when her step-mother found out, she stabbed the fish with a sleek dagger. The fish bones became magical and Yeh-shen could made wishes with them. Knowing that, she wished for a wonderful azure dress to wear to the traditional festival and a pair of golden slippers. At the fun-filled festival, Yeh-shen lost her golden slipper when she fled the special event. A royal king found the tiny gold slipper and went looking for the glamorous woman who owned it. When he found out that the stunning slipper belong to Yeh-shen, he asked for her hand in marriage. The cruel step-mother and the bossy step-sister were not allowed to enter the castle and died in their cave in a shower of flying rocks. Yeh-shen is one of our favorite Cinderella stories because of the vocabulary and the superior characters.

Candace, a young courageous heroine, was the main character in the story Moss Gown, by William H. Hooks. When Candace's wealthy father was dividing his land and money, he asked his daughters how much they loved him. When the two cruel sisters answered, they said, "I love you more than rubies, diamonds, and gold." Candace remarked, "I love you more than meat loves salt." The father gave the land and money to the two self-centered sisters and they kicked kind Candace out. She was crestfallen. Candace ran into the swampy woods and met a mysterious cat-eyed witch. The woman told her about a magic chant. The next morning, Candace knocked on a door of a plantation and met the bossy first cook. Then came the dazzling ball that the Young Master held, and poor Candace could not attend. The witch had given her a gown made of moss and when she chanted, she transformed into an elegant lady. When the respectful Young Master asked her to dance, Candace responded yes. At the end of the book, the elegant gown turned back into moss, but the Young Master didn't care. At the wedding party, Candace's father ate meat without salt, and understood what Candace meant. The wonderful prince loved Candace because she was intelligent and kind. They got married and lived happily ever after.

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, by John Steptoe, took place in a marvelous jungle in Zimbabwe, Africa. This story was about two attractive sisters named Nyasha and Manyara who tried to become the exquisite queen. The king was a very magical shape-shifter. When he shape-shifted, he changed into living things like a starving child or a garden snake. The king was shape-shifting because he needed to find out who would make a better queen. He learned that Nyasha was benevolent, and that Manyara was malevolent. Finally, the king chose the congenial Nyasha and they lived happily ever after.

In general, fairy tales have good and evil characters and some sort of magic. Usually the good character gets rewarded and the evil character gets taught a lesson. The moral of each story seems to be that you get what you deserve in life.

* * * * *

We have also been learning about how to be a contributor to a group.

Here are some ways to be a positive member of a project.

Taylor G.: If a person is talking, do not interrupt.

Jonah: Try to stay on topic. Even if there is something you really want to tell your friends in the group, try to concentrate on the group until recess.

Taylor S. : When you are in a group and someone is doing something wrong, instead of saying, "You did this..." Use an "I" statement. For example, let's say a group was off topic. Say, "I feel that the group should get back on track."

Clementine: Being too bossy or talkative is as bad as not doing anything or goofing off.

Chloe: When you receive an "I" statement, you should listen. Sometimes people don't know they are not helping the group.

Behyan: When you are in a group, you need to listen and participate.

Amanda: If you have an idea and another person has an idea, look for a compromise.

Lexi: If someone is not participating, ask them a question or ask for improvements to try and get them involved.

* * * * *

Which Cinderella folk tale was your favorite and why?

Compare and contrast the folktales.

We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Dear Class,

    My favorite story was Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters because of the setting. It was interesting to have a Cinderella story in the jungle.


  2. Dear Class,
    I noticed that in "Cinderella", "Yeh-Shen", and "Moss Gown" had a prince or king and a magical person, but in "Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters", the king is not only a king, but a magical shape shifter! By the way, all of you did a great job on these summaries.


  3. Dear Class,
    In "Yeh-Shen" and "Cinderella" they both have a shoe that dropped, but "Yeh-Shen" has a magical fish and "Cinderella" has a god-mother.
    Your Classmate,

  4. Dear Class,

    I noticed that every story had a sibling known as a sister. In every story the sister/sisters were very mean. My favorite story was, "Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters." I loved the wildlife/jungle setting.

    Great Job,

  5. Dear Class,
    I noticed that in every story the lesson is that what goes around comes around. Keep up the good work.


  6. Dear Class,

    I noticed that Yeh-Shen is a lot like Cinderella because the Step-mothers are both crafty. My favorite story was Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters.

    Em707 (Emily):-D

  7. Dear Class,
    I enjoyed this unit so much more than I thought I would. It was interesting to see the variations on the basic "Cinderella" tale.

    I think my favorite story was "Moss Gown". I know you're not suppose to judge a book by the cover, but the cover for that book didn't really appeal to me. However, as soon as we started reading it, I fell in love with the rich vocabulary and unusual characters. Moss' response, "I love you more than meat loves salt" was an odd response to her father, but after reading the book, I think it was a great answer.

    Before I read the stories, I was thinking that all of the folk tales would have the lost shoe problem, but only "Cinderella" and "Yeh-shen" had that story element.

    Great summaries and excellent team work everyone!
    Mrs. Yollis

    P.S. THIS is a three point comment, no? :-)

  8. @Emily,

    Why was "Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters" your favorite?

    Mrs. Yollis

  9. Dear Class,
    I noticed "Cinderella" and "Moss Gown" have something different. Cinderella lost a glass slipper and Moss Gown didn't. Also Cinderella has a two crafty step-sisters , and "Mufaro beautiful Daughters" has only one crafty
    Shane j. ;) :D

  10. Dear Class,
    I noticed that in "Cinderella", and "Yeh-Shen", they both lose their slipper. All of you did a fantastic job on them.

    Shane F:)

  11. Dear Class,

    I noticed that in all of the stories someone was magical. For example in Cinderella it was the god mother, and in Moss Gown it was the cat eyed women.


  12. There are differences and similarities between Yeh-Shen and Cinderella fairy tales. For example, in both stories the main characters lose their slippers, but, one has golden slipper and the other has a glass one. One more example is, both characters have crafty step-mothers and step-sisters, but, Yeh-Shen has only one step-sister, and Cinderella has two. Another example is in both stories the charming prince found the lost slippers and used them to find the vanished princesses.

    I liked the Yeh-Shen story better, because of its volcbulary.
    Nice job,

  13. @Behyan,

    Wow! What a fantastic contribution to our comment section! It is clear that you put a lot of thought and time into your comment. You even have a topic sentence! Wow, again!

    Thanks for being an example for us all!

    Mrs. Yollis

  14. My favorite story is "Moss Gown" because it is not your typical "Cinderella" story. There are also many differences in the two stories. Just to name a few, in "Moss Gown" Candice has until the morning star until her clothes turn into rags. In "Cinderella" she has until midnight. In "Moss Gown" there is a witch. In "Cinderella", there is a Fairy Godmother. I liked doing this project because we learned teamwork, storytelling techniques, and comparing and contrasting.

    Best regards,

    Taylor G.

  15. Dear Class,

    I'd like to compare Yeh-Shen to Cinderella. I think their alike because Yeh-Shen and Cinderella both lose a glass slipper, but Yeh-Shen's slipper is gold and Cinderella's is clear.

    Taylor S. :-)

    @ Mrs.Yollis,
    P.S. It's a three pointer!

  16. @Taylor G.,
    Wow! You have a very thoughtful and well-written comment. I can tell you spent a lot of time composing what you wanted to say. You even had a topic sentence and conclusion!

    Thanks for being a leader for us all!

    Mrs. Yollis

  17. Dear Class,
    A fairy tale is when there are one good character and one bad character. Also, fairy tales are fiction, and there's always a happy ending.

  18. Dear Class,

    I compared "Cinderella" to "Yeh-shen" and realized that they both have main characters who lose a slipper. The difference is in the kind of slipper. Cinderella's was transparent glass and Yeh-shen's was made of vibrant gold.

    All stories have a problem and these "Cinderella" plots happen to be similar. In each folk tale, the solution was the same. The prince and the Cinderella characters got married and lived happily ever after.


  19. Dear Class,
    You have done a fantastic job summarizing these four "Cinderella" stories. Your high level vocabulary just leaps right off the page! My favorite story is Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters. It is said that true character is judged by how you act when no-one is watching. Here, the sisters don't know that they are being observed by the shape shifting king and it provides the king a window into their true behavior. Also, the title refers to both daughters as beautiful but I think only one of them is beautiful on the inside where it really counts. Ultimately, the daughter with inner beauty wins!
    I've had a very enjoyable year commenting on your blog. I encourage you to continue your writing endeavors because you each have so much to share.
    Mrs. Kumar


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