Reviews for Little Gold Star : A Spanish American Cinderella Tale


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 October 2000
Gr. 2^-4, younger for reading aloud. The author of Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella (1998) and the new Cinderella Skeleton [BKL S 1 00] here gives the ever-popular picture-book tale a Southwestern flavor. While washing the fleece of a lamb her cruel stepmother has killed, Teresa meets the Blessed Mary, who asks her to tend old Joseph and the Holy Infant. When Teresa is finished, Mary returns and rewards her with a touch that places a gold star on her forehead. When her callous, clumsy sisters rush off for similar decorations, they are given not stars but goat horns and donkey ears. In Sergio Martinez's elegant Hispanic settings, Teresa and her beau, Don Miguel, are slender, graceful figures, comically juxtaposed against Teresa's lumpish, elaborately dressed stepmother and stepsisters, who are portrayed with exaggerated expressions of dismay or annoyance. Mary reappears to help Teresa secure her stepmother's permission to marry, and by the unalloyed happy ending, horns and hairy ears have vanished, too. Cinderella fans have to be rapid readers to keep up with the steady stream of new renditions, but this consolidation of old and new published versions mixes laughter and romance in pleasing proportion--and features an unusual (to say the least) fairy godmother. A source note is provided. John Peters Copyright 2000 Booklist 2000

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2001 Spring
This Southwest ""Cinderella"" story includes elements of European fairy tales, Christian imagery, and Spanish folklore. When her father marries a haughty widow with two vain daughters, Teresa's life becomes miserable. A ""woman in blue"" comes to the rescue in exchange for Teresa's kindness to an old man and a baby. Golden light suffuses the watercolor paintings, while accurate details root the story in the colonial Spanish tradition. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2001 #1
San Souci retells with gusto yet another version of "Cinderella" (his others include Cinderella Skeleton; Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella; and Sootface: An Ojibwa Cinderella Story); this one is well known in New Mexico and the Southwest. Including elements of European fairytales, Christian imagery, and Spanish folklore, Little Gold Star is the story of Tom s, a widower and sheepherder, and his only daughter, Teresa. When her father marries a haughty widow with two vain daughters, Teresa's life becomes miserable. One day, the wicked woman kills Teresa's lamb and sends her to the river to wash its fleece. When a fish snatches it away, a woman appears and offers her help if Teresa will take care of an old man and a child. (Though Teresa does not realize it, the three are Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.) Besides returning the immaculate fleece to her, the "woman in blue" touches Teresa's forehead with her finger, and a little gold star appears there. Isabel and Inez, the stepsisters, go to the river hoping for similar golden rewards, but their unkindness toward the man and baby results instead in horns and donkey ears sprouting from their heads. The expected happy ending comes when Teresa marries the wealthy young man she meets at a fiesta; the story's Christian spirit is extended to the cruel stepmother and stepsisters, who grow kinder after witnessing Teresa's joy. A golden light that sets the story in a once-upon-a-time realm and underscores the religious motifs suffuses the watercolor painting. At the same time, accurate details in buildings, furniture, and clothing keep this "Cinderella" rooted in the colonial Spanish tradition. An author's note explains the sources of the tale; coming from the same sources, Joe Hayes's bilingual version Little Gold Star/Estrellita de Oro (Cinco Puntos Press, 2000) offers a retelling without divine intervention. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2000 October #2
This tender version of the Cinderella story comes from the American Southwest. A widow and her two daughters pressure the shepherd Tomás into marriage, and while he spends more and more time with the flocks, his daughter Teresa gets more and more of the chores. When Tomás brings Teresa the gift of a lamb, her stepmother kills it and orders her to wash the fleece. A fish steals the fleece, but Blessed Mary appears to her, and asks her to care for Joseph and the Child for a day. Teresa is rewarded for her kindness by the return of the fleece, and the Virgin touches her forehead so a gold star appears there. When Teresa returns home, the stepsisters are fierce with jealousy, mocking her with the name Estrellita de Oro (Little Gold Star), but when each of them in turn tries for the fleece and the gold star, they fail the kindness test and get horns and donkey's ears instead. Still, when Don Miguel gives a fine party, the sisters vie for his attention, mantillas over their protuberances. As is to be expected he has eyes only for Teresa, who is then sent home by her stepmother. Don Miguel finds her through the offices of their cat, but the stepmother sets three impossible tasks for Teresa before she will give permission for the marriage. Mary blesses Teresa again, the tasks completed, Teresa and Don Miguel marry, and even the stepsisters learn kindness until their donkey ears and horns disappear. There's a wonderful translucence to Martínez's watercolors: light seems to shine through the roses in the Virgin's path, the candles at Don Miguel's, even the stepsisters' black lace mantillas. Little Gold Star has a lovely face, and the stepmother and sisters are properly grumpy. In a year full of Cinderella variations, this one is a welcome addition. (Fairy tale. 6-9) Copyright 200 Kirkus Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 2000 October
Gr 1-5-To add to Jewell Reinhart Coburn's Domitila (Shen's, 2000) and Joe Hayes's Little Gold Star/Estrellita de oro (Cinco Puntos, 2000), comes San Souci's variant of the same story. Sweet young Teresa lives peacefully with her father, Tomás, in the high hills of New Mexico. He tends sheep, and she keeps house. Their measured existence is shattered when an opportunistic widow with two daughters persuades Tomás to marry her. On a rare visit home, Tomás brings a lamb to his daughter. The outraged stepmother kills it and sends the brokenhearted girl to wash its fleece in the river. The fleece is snatched by a fish, and as Teresa begins to cry, a lovely woman in blue appears and promises to get it back if she will tend to the old man and the baby in a hut on the hill. Teresa does so gladly, not knowing that the woman is the Virgin Mary and that she has been asked to care for the Holy Family. Her reward is a gold star, planted in the middle of her forehead. When she returns home, the stepmother is again enraged, but sends her daughters to do the same and receive gold stars. The results are disastrous. From this point on, the story follows the traditional tale, until the satisfying ending when the Blessed Virgin again helps the young woman. San Souci's telling is smooth and fluid. Martinez's lovely, luminous watercolor illustrations are a perfect match for the text. His accomplished sense of extended line gives all of his figures a romantic, elongated look, and his command of expression is exceptional. A noteworthy addition to an already impressive crop of Southwestern "Cinderella" stories.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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