Domitila: A Cinderella Tale from the Mexican TraditionBy
Retold/Adapted By Jewell Reinhart Coburn
Illustrated By Connie McLennan
Can you imagine a tale of “Cinderella” set in rural Mexico? This is exactly what you’ll find in the book, Domotila, where the story takes places in the region of Hidalgo, Mexico, complete with adobe houses, colorful villages and young girl so talented she can turn cactus into a delicious treat called nopales. And, in everything she does, she follows her mother’s wonderful advice: “Do every task with care and always add a generous dash of love!”.
As you probably guessed, the young girl is named Domitila and her family falls upon hard times. She is forced to travel to the city to cook and work for the governor’s family and there she encounters the “prince”. Through many twists and turns, the story leads to a satisfying ending where the value of a kind and caring person is seen as real talent and beauty.
Although there’s something magical about any Cinderalla tale – this one truly shines in terms of cultural authenticity and an engaging story. This is a satisfying book to read together with children as well as a great pick for bilingual families or those wishing to learn a bit more Spanish.
And there’s even a recipe for cactus nopales – cook it, if you dare!
Domitila is not only "sweeter than a cactus bloom in early spring," she is also a talented cook and an amazing leather artist. most of the classical elements of a Cinderella story can be found in Domitila. A gentle weaving of her mother's nurturing with strong family traditions is the secret ingredient for Domitila to rise above hardship to eventually become the Governor's bride. Moreover, with a firm belief in simplicity and realism, Domitila makes a lasting impression as a triumphant Cinderella in her humility, service, and unassuming modesty.
Unlike most ivory tower Cinderellas, the only transformation in this story is Timoteo's—Domitila's suitor—as we watch him mature from an arrogant politician's son to a compassionate family man. There is no glass slipper to fight over, and no fairy godmother to save the day. All Domitila has are her innate qualities and her family legacy. Finally, the readers are invited to get to know Cinderella for who she is, unlike the typical fantasy character!
With love and care in every stroke, McLennan captured on canvas the warmth of relationships, the fondness for color and texture, and the versatile patterns characteristic of the Mexican people. Readers will soon fall in love with the shimmering light of the desert landscape and this well-told story of Cinderella-with-a-twist.