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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
There’s nothing like a good fairy tale to teach us, yet again (as we often need countless reminders), that true beauty is not something we see – true beauty comes from deep within a person. Life is hard and not always fair, but each of us can benefit from what little we have, what little we are given. Sieglinde, the youngest of three sisters, is neither beautiful nor is she compassionate with animals. When her mother dies and leaves her with only the strawberry field as her inheritance, and the simple words, “You’ll have to make do,” little does she know what treasure she will discover buried underneath her strawberries. It’s not the kind of treasure that will necessarily bring riches and beauty, but rather one that will give her life purpose, full of golden opportunities, and a chance to shine at what she does best: creating things of beauty.
Maria Ritter’s short story, The Golden Cup, which begins with a compassionate poem, In Remembrance, is a magical look at what is really important in life. Fame, fortune, and beauty are not the greatest treasures, as so many classic fairy tales point out. The story centers around three sisters, each with a unique gift: beauty, love of animals, and then the youngest, Sieglinde, who tends the gardens. Each one must find their way using the gifts they have. For Sieglinde, it appears the most difficult, the most unfair. And, yet, she overcomes the obstacles in her way, makes something beautiful out of shards of broken china, and finds her sense of purpose. For that is what life is all about: seeking and nurturing our own unique sense of purpose. Beautifully told and beautifully illustrated.