Genre: Native American / Folktale / Family / Manners / Magic
Year Published: 1994
Year Read: 2010
Publisher: Doubleday Book for Young Readers
“Sootface: An Ojibwa Cinderella Story” is a brilliant Native American version of “Cinderella” retold by Robert D. San Souci along with beautiful illustrations by Daniel San Souci. In this version, a young girl named Sootface is mistreated by her two older sisters, but when a mighty warrior wanted to marry a woman who can see him when he is invisible, Sootface realizes that true beauty lies within. “Sootface: An Ojibwa Cinderella Story” is a beautiful retelling of one of the most beloved fairy tales ever created and will be an instant treat for children.
Robert D. San Souci has done a terrific job at retelling this old Native American tale as he makes the story both dramatic and tender at the same time. The audience can easily feel sympathy for Sootface as she has to endure hardship from her sisters and the village because of her appearance, however Sootface teaches children about the importance of having a kind heart as Sootface tries to overcome the cruelness of her sisters to have her dreams come true. Daniel San Souci’s illustrations are just simply beautiful and amazing as it truly captures the true spirit of the Native American culture as the characters wear colorful skin robes to define their personalities. The image that stood out the most was the image of Sootface herself as she definitely does look dirty since her hair is frizzy and her clothes are worn and torn since she has to do all the work at her home. However, Sootface still have an extremely beautiful face which strongly proves the book’s point in how true beauty lies within.
Parents should know that Sootface’s sisters are cruel towards her to the point where they smear ashes on Sootface’s face without a second thought. Parents should tell their children who have brothers and sisters that it is not right to mistreat your sibling and that you should always treat your siblings with respect.
“Sootface: An Ojibwa Cinderella Story” is a beautiful retelling of “Cinderella” that many children who are interested in Native American folktales will enjoy for many years. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since there are some terms in this book that younger children would have problems with.
Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
Genre: Mermaids / Folktale / Fantasy / African American / Family
Year Published: 1992
Year Read: 2008
Publisher: Four Winds Press
“Sukey and the Mermaid” is an American folktale retold by Robet D. San Souci, along with beautiful illustrations from Brian Pinkney. This book won the Coretta Scott King Award and was also the first book that I have read that originated in South Carolina. This book is surely to be an instant treat for the entire family and is surely to be a favorite among American folktales.
Robert D. San Souci’s storytelling is magnificent as he narrates the story about a good-natured girl who finds a true friend in the mermaid. The storytelling is interesting because I have never heard a story come from South Carolina and this is definitely the first folktale that I have read that came from South Carolina. Another reason is that this story seems like to be a combination of “The Little Mermaid” and “Cinderella” as Sukey plays as an honest yet miserable girl who works hard to the bone and has a cruel step parent, in this case her step-pa and she finds a friend in a mermaid who lives in the sea. Brian Pinkney’s illustrations are vibrant and rough edged and they give the book a calm feel when Sukey goes to the sea and a mysterious feel, such as having Mister Jones always having his hat tilted to cover his eyes. The image that stood out from the rest of the images in the book was of the mermaid herself who has green and flourishing hair and a beautiful face to match. Seeing the mermaid just makes anyone who reads this book shows comfort for her as she is shown to be a reassuring and friendly character in this book.
“Sukey and the Mermaid” is a unique book about how true friendship can bring happiness to anyone and how dreams do come true if you believe in yourself. This book is certainly a special one that both adults and children will cherish because of its creative plot and because of its ingenious moral. I would recommend this book to children ages six years and older due to the book being considerably long and that might put off many young children who are not used to reading large books yet.
Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog