Reading to young children has become difficult because the selection has become so limited. For example, I have read three versions of Cinderella, Ashputtle by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, When the Clock Strikes by Tanith Lee, and Walt Disney s Cinderella by Campbell Grant. I would read Walt Disney s Cinderella to my three-year-old child because it is not as violent, it is short, and it has good morals. When it comes to picking a story for a child as young as three, the lack of violence should be a priority. Of the three versions that I read Walt Disney s Cinderella is the least violent. There is no blood or Satanism in this version that can upset a three year old, or even cause nightmares.
Ashputtle is too violent. In this version one of the stepsisters cuts off her heel so that her foot would fit in the slipper. The other stepsister cuts off her toes for the same reason. To make things even worse, birds peck out their eyes at the wedding of Cinderella and the Prince. Such violence is unsuitable for a child of three. In When the Clock Strikes some of the villagers are cutting off parts of their feet for the same reason as the stepsisters in the first version.
Children of this age do not need to be informed of Satanism or of the bloody violence provided by the latter of the two versions. Three-year-old children have a very short attention span. A project that takes longer than a few minutes, such as reading a story, will bore a child of this age if it takes too long. Walt Disney s Cinderella was the shortest of the three stories.
It is just over two pages long. At this length a child will be kept interested and attentive. Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm s Ashputtle is five pages long with some uninteresting scenes. At this length a three year old will begin to get distracted and focus his attention elsewhere. Tanith Lee s When the Clock Strikes is the longest of the three, occupying a full twelve pages. That is far too lon to expect a child of this age to stay interested in a story.
Good morals are very important components of children stories. Cinderella has possibly the best set of morals of the three versions. The abused heroine receives special treatment from a fairy godmother, goes to the ball, and wins the heart of the Prince. The evil selfish stepsisters are left behind because they are not nice to Cinderella. It also describes sibling rivalry, and how Cinderella deals with the pressure brought on by her sisters. This strong message points out the benefits of being a good person and not being mean or selfish, something that I would definitely want to impress upon my child.
Ashputtle describes justice by having the eyes of the evil stepsisters pecked out and having to live with parts of their feet being cut off. I feel as if the blood and violence would overshadow the message that the story is trying to send. This is not something that I d like to teach my young, impressionable child. When the Clock Strikes is based on a Satanic Cinderella that punishes the Prince with her black magic. A three-year-old child shouldn t be expected to understand what the author is trying to portray. The violence and Satanism could not have a very positive effect on the child.
I would try to keep this story far away from my child because it does not have good morals. Finding reading material suitable for young children has become quite tedious. Of the three versions of Cinderella that I ve read, Ashputtle by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, When the Clock Strikes by Tanith Lee, and Disney s Cinderella by Campbell Grant, I would read Disney s Cinderella to my three year old child. Disney s Cinderella is not as violent as the other two versions, it is the shortest, and it has the best morals. These three components combine to create an enjoyable and appropriate story for young children.