Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2002
ISBN 0-399-23866-2 (hardcover)

Notes on Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story by Tomie...

I've been visiting Mexico quite regularly lately. I have a very dear friend, Dr. Mario Mercado, who is an ophthalmologist practicing in Mexico City. Whenever I visit, he tries to show me a different city or place. He's my "personal" tour guide.

One trip took us to Guadalajara, the city of Mariachis. His mother, Ines, and sister, Patricia, came along with us. Ines was going to visit her sister, Bertha.

"You know," Mario said, "my aunt Bertha had quite a hard life when she was younger.
She married a very wealthy young man, but he died not too long after the wedding. So, her mother-in-law sent her to the kitchen to cook for the entire family. It wasn't until the mother-in-law died that Bertha got out of the kitchen and began to have a real life!"

"Oh, my goodness," I said to Mario, "that's a real Cinderella story." So, I started to think! What if...

Now, from my first trip to Mexico five years ago, I had been obsessed with the colors and folk art of the country. Here would be a perfect opportunity to use what I had been seeing.

But first, I had to craft a story. There would be NO fairy godmother. She would be replaced by a faithful nursemaid/cook. There would be the stepmother and two stepsisters. I'd make the sisters a little more comic than mean. There would be no prince, but there would be a handsome young student whose family owned the large "hacienda" on the outskirts of town.

But what to do about the troublesome glass slipper? That was always a part of the French Cinderella story I didn't really like - ever since I was young. Also, I liked the way the Italian Cinderella - La Cenerentola - took matters in her own hands by taking off her FUR slipper and leaving it on the palace stairs. One sister's foot was too big. One sister's foot was too small. Cenerentola's was just right.

Ah, I had it! A rebozo that had belonged to Adelita's mother, Adela. (Adelita means little Adela.) I would start with that. I got out all the samples of Mexican embroidery, fabric, etc., that I'm drawn to in the shops and markets. The very first thing I did for ADELITA before even starting the text was to paint the endpapers that would represent the shawl - that Adelita would wear at the fiesta and would use to let Javier know where she lived.

Of course, the pages had to be full of colored tiles, the way houses and restaurants and churches are filled with them in Mexico.

I so enjoyed painting the pictures for ADELITA. The pages are full of color - tiles and kitchen objects that I have seen or even own.


I'm sure there will be more books that take place in Mexico. I haven't even "used up" all the colorful images in my mind.

And, oh yes, if you look, you'll see a special guest at the fiesta!

As they say in Mexico, "Gracias y adios."

Other tales from Mexico and New Mexico include...
    The Legend of the Poinsettia
retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1999
ISBN 0-399-21692-8 (hardcover)
  The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote
by Tony Johnston
illustrated by Tomie dePaola
G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1994
ISBN 0-399-22258-8 (hardcover)
    Erandi's Braids
written by Antonio Hernandez Madrigal
illustrated by Tomie dePaola
G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1999
ISBN 0-399-23212-5 (hardcover)
  Alice Nizzy Nazzy
The Witch of Santa Fe

by Tony Johnston
illustrated by Tomie dePaola
G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1995
ISBN 0-399-22788-1 (hardcover)
    The Night of Las Posadas
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1999
ISBN 0-399-23400-4 (hardcover)
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