The Korean Cinderella

’Climo and Heller conflate several Korean variants of Cinderella to offer up the story of Pear Blossom, a lovely girl who is sorely mistreated by her nasty stepmother and stepsister.… At once comfortingly familiar and intriguingly exotic, the text is especially noteworthy for its instructive but unobtrusive incorporation of Korean words.’-Publishers Weekly ( Ages 4 & Up.
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
New York
ISSN Number
Average: 4 (4 votes)


Please login to review this resource

Posted by: Beth Nunley

Field of Interest/Specialty: Music
Posted On: 11/20/2019

My name is Beth Nunley and I teach music at Eastbrook Elementary in Winfield , WV. My classes include students from kindergarten through fifth grade. A few times a year, students and I read stories in my classroom. In the lower grades, we add instrumental sounds to accompany characters, objects, places, etc. when reading stories. In the upper grades, students collaborate to develop simple melodies and sounds to accompany readings.
Along with the American version of Cinderella, it would be a great book to use as a compare and contrast activity. The main characters, Cinderella and Pear Blossom, share the same theme of daughters who have lost their mothers and gained wicked stepmothers and stepsister(s). Both prevail over their wicked stepmother and stepsister(s) and end up being rescued by a man, a prince for Cinderella and a magistrate) for Pear Blossom.
The Korean version lacks a fairy godmother, but Pear Blossom gains help through a frog, sparrows, and an ox. There is not a glass slipper in the Korean version, however it is replaced by a straw sandal. Cinderella was confined to house cleaning, while Pear Blossom is outside fetching water, hulling rice, and weeding rice paddies.
Overall a very interesting book and a nice variation of Cinderella. The cover and pages of the Korean version are very colorful and attractive. Students will enjoy the story and looking at the pictures!

Korean Cinderella

Field of Interest/Specialty: Elm. Edu/ Reading specialist
Posted On: 10/20/2019

I would use this book for language arts. I feel this book could be used in grades 3-12. It is appropriate for this grade level because students are able to understand the artwork and cultural background of the book. Before reading this book, I would look how to pronounce certain words.I would read the story aloud to my class and to discuss the book as we went along. My goal for this was to introduce my class to some Korean culture as well as to see the differences between the Cinderella they are used to.
The story had a very similar story line to the Cinderella we know. The book showed how important animals are to the Korean culture by having them help Pear Blossom instead of a fairy godmother. We were able to see how Koreans magistrates were moved from one place to another being carried to their location. We also saw a Korean festival with the decorations, acrobats, tightrope walkers, and musical instruments. Most students were fascinated by Pear Blossoms dress that she wore to the festival, having never seen this in real life. Overall, the book was very enjoyable to read and my students loved it.

The Korean Cinderella

Field of Interest/Specialty: Library Studies, Reading, Technology
Posted On: 11/30/2015

The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo is a wonderful version of the much-loved fairy tale. Paired with the beautifully colorful illustrations by Ruth Heller, this book adaptable for students from first through eighth grades.
The heroine, Pear Blossom, is the kind, obedient, beautiful and appreciative daughter of an aging gentleman widower. He remarries with the hope that his lovely child will be cared for and loved by her new stepmother and stepsister. However, we know that does not happen. As the story unfolds the new females subject her to physical, verbal and psychological abuse, yet she remains true to herself. Her salvation comes in the form of tokgabis, which are the animal equivalent of a fairy godmother. The frog, sparrows and ox appear mysteriously during her most trying situations to provide help and support. On her way to the Pear Festival she has a less than graceful encounter with a handsome magistrate and loses her sandal as she runs away in fear. She manages to reach the festival but both the stepfamily and the magistrate discover her. Stepmother Omoni admonished Pear Blossom and thinks the magistrate means to arrest her. But the tables are turned when the magistrate announces that he intends to marry the girl who lost her sandal. She finally gets the happy ending she justly deserves to the cheers of the helpful animals that chant, “Ewha!” which means “Pear Blossom” in Korean.
This story reinforces the Confucian concept that one should live in a right way with integrity. Being benevolent and humane is extremely important. Pear Blossom personifies these traits. There is also the belief of some that the togabis might be the spirit of her deceased mother.
I can use this book across the curriculum and across many grades. This may be used for literature as either an introduction to fairy tales/folk tales or as part of a unit to compare and contrast various cultures’ version of the story. As part of a bullying lesson students can identify good and bad behaviors as well as how to treat others. The use of numerous Korean words may be a good introduction for a World Languages lesson. Finally, I might recommend this book as a way to investigate Korean culture: dress, art, food, politics and traditions for a social studies class.

Cinderella with an Eastern twist.

Field of Interest/Specialty: Library Science
Posted On: 11/13/2014

Cinderella type stories are common to every culture. Korea boasts several versions of this type of story. The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo explores one version of this fairy tale. This retelling begins in a way familiar to western readers. Parents longing for a child celebrate the birth of a daughter. Over time the mother passes and the father remarries. With the help of many magical creatures “Pigling” or Pear Blossom completes each difficult task given to her by her step mother. She then is able to attend a festival where a lost shoe leads her to happiness.
Readers of any nationality and age will be able to relate to the standard Cinderella format of parental loss, followed by suffering at the hands of the wicked step mother and eventual rescue by the price when good triumphs. Though the story is familiar in its organization, Korean cultural references and language infuse the story. References to Korean words such as Omani or mother are explained throughout the book. This makes it easy for readers unfamiliar with the language, to follow along. The story also refers to distinctive Eastern Cultural customs such as the father going to a matchmaker after Pear Blossom’s mother passes, Pear Blossom’s filial piety or devotion to family and the reference to the Tokgabi or goblin later in the book.
The colorful illustrations help to accent the story while lending themselves to the cultural references in the book. Characters are dressed in traditional hanbok and Pear Blossom’s sandal, unlike the traditional glass slipper we are accustomed to in the west, is made of straw. The illustrations help the reader to imagine Pear Blossoms life and understand the culture and setting of the story.
Though the content is appropriate for any age, the length and difficult vocabulary in this retelling of the standard Cinderella tale is more suited to moderate level readers. However the story is engaging enough that young readers enjoy it as a read aloud.