Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella

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9781885008091: Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella

In the first English retelling of this ancient Cambodian tale, our heroine goes further, survives more, and has to conquer her own mortality to ragain her rightful place. Angkat—child of ashes—endures great wrongs as she seeks to rise above the distresses caused by her own family. Angkat appeared in an 18th century French essay which was found by Dr. Coburn deep in some dusty archives while she was researching Khmer culture and folklore. The artist effectively employed dramatic expressions, gestures, and ambiance in each illustration. This ancient and truly captivating version of the Cinderella story will delight and enthrall readers of all ages.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-3-The author of Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella (Shen's, 1996) presents a Cambodian version of this protean tale. Angkat, the obedient daughter of a fisherman, finds her position threatened when her widowed father marries a woman with a daughter of her own. To decide which girl will be Number One in the family, Stepmother arranges a fishing contest. Kantok wins by cheating, relegating Angkat to a servant's role. Her only friend is a magic fish she caught and freed. When Kantok sees the fish, she kills it. Suddenly the Spirit of Virtue appears; this radiant presence gives Angkat a pair of dainty golden slippers that eventually lead her to her prince and a royal wedding. The story takes an unexpected turn when Angkat's jealous family lures her back home to murder her, but the Spirit of Virtue raises her from the dead, the family is punished, and Angkat and her prince live happily ever after. The author cites a 19th-century French essay as her source, but she has not developed the material into an entirely coherent narrative. The writing is occasionally awkward, and events, especially the appearance of the Spirit of Virtue, occur without sufficient context. The watercolor illustrations, sometimes confusing and hard to decipher, look more like gallery paintings than narrative art. Libraries collecting every possible version of the Cinderella story may want this one, but it is not a first purchase.
Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review:

"The illustrator has a fine hand, and his watercolors are detailed and delightful." -- MultiCultural Review

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