Once Upon a Time in Persia

Tate. Mar. 2023. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781849768290.
Gr 2-5–Rebecca Hickox’s The Golden Sandal is a Persian Cinderella story whose details are very different from the European-based versions readers are used to. This book shares the culture of that tale but not the Cinderella story itself. It is set at a Persian wedding and conveys the importance of the mirror and candles that are used in their ceremonies. Couples typically sit before a mirror together at the beginning of the rite. Ages ago, it might have been the first time the groom sees the bride. The mirror remains but now solely as a representation of the light and brightness in the couple’s future. In this story, the bride runs off after seeing her reflection for the first time and believes it is someone else altogether. Her husband goes after her and tells her it is, indeed, her image in the mirror. She corrects him and says her reflection is in the stars, the earth, the water, etc. He agrees, they light the wedding candles, and the wedding goes on as planned. The art is vibrant and is filled with Persian designs.
VERDICT This book fits well into units exploring different cultures from around the globe and like the best folktales, will be a rich source for broadening childrens’ views of the world around them.

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