The Rough-Face Girl
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The Rough-Face Girl

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  6,269 ratings  ·  345 reviews
This moving adaptation of the classic children's story Cinderella tells how a disfigured Algonquin girl wins the heart of a mysterious being who lives by the lake near her village.

The powerful Invisible Being is looking for a wife, and all the girls in the village vie for his affections. But only the girl who proves she can see him will be his bride. The two beautiful but...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 13th 1998 by Puffin
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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineCinder by Marissa MeyerThe Rough-Face Girl by Rafe MartinMufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John SteptoeJust Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Cinderella Stories
3rd out of 112 books — 245 voters
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineThe Goose Girl by Shannon HaleBeauty by Robin McKinleyThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanFairest by Gail Carson Levine
The Best Fairytales and Retellings
218th out of 1,479 books — 6,478 voters

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An interesting, beautifully illustrated Algonquin tale reminiscent of Cinderella. The ending is fascinating and I'm still trying to figure out all of the possible endings besides the obvious "happily ever after" with her "prince." It's so intriguing that she "sees his face everywhere" even though no one else can see him. I wonder if this is to reflect that, when we love someone, they are always present with us. Whether there is a deeper Spiritual meaning here (is the marriage in someway symbolic...more
I have read many versions of this classic Native American “Cinderella” story, but never have I read a version with such dramatic illustrations. “The Rough-Face Girl” is a Native American tale retold by Rafe Martin along with illustrations by David Shannon and it details about how a young miserable girl realizes that having a pure heart can set her free. “The Rough-Face Girl” is a truly brilliant tale for children to enjoy for many years!

In a village near Lake Ontario, there lived a poor man who...more
Jennifer Tarr
This Native American version of the Cinderella story is lovely and haunting. It is a fitting parallel to the original or the "Disney" version which is well known to most students--and you could easily picture a discussion of comparison and contrast. The references in text and pictures to Algonquin Indian culture is woven into the story of a young girl, mistreated by her older sisters, who through self reliance and determination finds herself worthy of true love. What stands out to me are the fac...more
Eva Leger
I forget just how I came to borrow this from the library. I either found it there and the cover caught my eye or its somewhere on a children's lit list here on GR. either way Julia and I read this tonight and I'm impressed. I'm in the - slow - process of removing Julia's books from my page here and adding then to her own. My goal there is two-fold, one, I want my page back. Two, I want her to have her own page. There will be few, a very few, children's books left on my page after all is said and...more
Becca Noelle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I love Cinderella stories and am always looking for new variations. This one comes from the Algonquin Indians and I was immediately excited by its departure from the traditional Cinderella formula. The heroine is not oppressed by a stepmother, in fact no mother is ever mentioned. However the abusive older sisters are present and force the youngest daughter to tend to the fire causing her hands and face to scar with burns and her hair to singe and fray. Already we are presented with a girl who is...more
Lisa Vegan
Apr 20, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those interested in Algonquin-Native American folklore and/or Cinderella stories
This is a folk story from Algonquin Indian folklore, and it’s unmistakably a variant on the Cinderella tale.

Here, the Cinderalla figure is scarred by fire from the work she’s had to do and she’s the one who has to find/see the prince figure in order to marry him.

There is a whole theme of beauty on the inside being what’s important, and here nature also plays a central role. The “invisible being” our heroine wants to marry seems to be one with nature.

The ending seems open to interpretation, but...more
Anna Summers
The Rough-Face Girl is an Algonquin Indian Cinderella story. Rough-Face Girl is beautiful on the inside, but has scars all over her face and body from tending the fire. Her two sisters are ugly on the inside, but beautiful on the outside. All three sisters want to marry Invisible Being. Invisible Being’s sister sees Rough Face Girl’s inner beauty and wants Rough-face Girl to marry her brother. As Rough-Face Girl bathes in a lake, her scars disappear and her skin becomes beautiful. Rough-Face Gir...more
This is a great Cinderella story, that, in coming from Algonquin Indian tradition, was not Disney-fied like other "cultural" Cinderella stories. Emphasized is the spiritual connection between man and nature which ultimately leads to the book's happy ending. In focusing on nature rather than superficial appearances and supernatural entities (like in other Cinderella adaptations), this story remains true to traditional Native American values.
Heidi Garner
The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin is a Native American folktale similar to Cinderella. This tale is about a young girl who lives a sad life and whose older sisters take advantage of her. The girls pure heart, determination and self reliance sets her free in the end when she ends up with the Invisible Being.
This story would be good to include in a lesson on Native American culture and folklore. This story is very similar to Disney's Cinderella so I think it would be interesting to have students...more
Chris Evans Ramsey
The Rough-Face Girl is a book by author Rafe Martin. I would suggest a later elementary age group for this book in order to understand the meaning behind the story but all ages will enjoy the story as it is. The book has won an amazing array of awards.

1995 Virginia State Reading Association Young Readers Award
Golden Sower Award, 1994
1994-5 Georgia Children’s Picture Storybook Award
IRA Teacher’s Choice Award, 1993
Child Study Children’s Book Committee “Children’s Book of the Year 1993”
1993 Assoc...more
Although this book has been accused of citing misleading sources, and criticized for its europeanized retelling, The Rough-Faced Girl, by Rafe Martin, illustrated by David Shannon earned one star from me for Shannon’s illustration of the Rough-faced girl (now smooth and dewy fresh) bathing in the lake. Half Land-O-Lakes Butter Maiden, half 1940’s pin-up girl, this illustration doesn’t belong in children’s literature.
Kristi Maurer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Rough Face Girl is a story about the Native American girl who lived with her two sisters and their father. This book is like the traditional Cinderella, but in a Native American translation. The whole goal of the sisters and the woman of the village was to marry the invisible being. To be able to marry the invisible being, you have to be able “see” him. The moral of the story is that you cannot tell a book from its cover. Sometimes people can look beautiful on the outside, but be absolute st...more
Apr 22, 2010 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful version of the classic "Cinderella" story, from a Native American perspective. It's a terrific story with gorgeous illustrations. Our girls really enjoyed the story and so did I.
This book is an Algonquin version of Cinderella. This represents an excellent cultural adaptation of a European classic, the reason I would place it in a multicultural literature category. I especially like it as the second grade MN standard for ELA suggests comparing Cinderella stories from different cultures. I think it would work for grades 1-4.

Just like Cinderella, this is about a girl treated poorly by her sisters, though there is no mother in this story. The sisters make her tend a fire, c...more
Emily Miller
This story is based on the traditional fairytale, Cinderella. I particularly liked this story because it takes a traditional story we all know and shows it in a different light. I love that it is multicultural. The author, Rafe Martin, uses the Algonquin culture beautifully in his writing. David Shannon, the illustrator does a great job of showing the Algonquin culture through the illustrations which will help children visualize to how they live, what they wear, and elements of their daily lives...more
The Rough-face girl is one of my favorite Cinnderella versions. But unlike the traditional Cinderella stories, the Rough-Face Girl is and Indian girl does not have a stepmother or evil stepsisters. She instead has a very caring father and two conceited older sisters who bully her. All three, want to marry an invisible being (The Prince). But only the person that can see him can marry him. If you are looking for a “missing slipper” type of Cinderella story, this is not the version for you!

Jade Tyler
I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anybody. It is like a indian version of Cinderella.
I love this retelling of Cinderella. A little different, but great! Definitely one to own!!
Well told story with a great moral. And David Shannon's illustrations rock!
This is a Native American spin on the classic story of Cinderella. It is about a girl who has two step-sisters that do not treat her well. They force her to tend to the fire in the tepee they live in. The embers that fly from the fire burn her face and hands, and char her hair. In the end she is married because people can see the beauty inside of her. This book is a good teaching tool on Native American culture. It could also be used in a unit on fairytales. The coparison aand contrast between t...more
One of the more interesting takes on the Cinderella story.
This is a multicultural take on the classic story of Cinderella. It is about a young Native American girl who has to put up with an evil family but ends up marrying the "prince" (or the Invisible Being in this case) because she has inner beauty. It is a great perspective on the traditional tale because although it incorporates some aspects of the original tale and is essentially the same story, it has an entirely different feel to it. I plan on using this in my classes to compare and contrast mu...more
This is one of the first books that I remember buying from the Book Fair at my elementary school many years ago. My mom instilled a love of Native American culture in me early on and even back then I drew Cinderella parallels from the story (Cinderella was my favorite Disney princess, ever. I recently was unpacking some boxes and came across my copy of "The Rough-Faced Girl" and after being reminded of the wonderful story from a condensed version that was in a Jodi Picoult book, I just stood and...more
(NS) Lisa
In this Algonquin Indian version of the Cinderella story, a poor man has three daughters. The two older daughters are cruel and hard-hearted and make their younger sister sit by the fire and feed the flames. As the young girl tends the fire, branches pop, and sparks hit her hands and face causing them to become burnt and scarred. In the village lives a very great, rich, powerful, and supposedly handsome Invisible Being. However, no one can see him except for his sister. Many women want to marry...more
(NS) Brea M
Rafe Martin’s Rough Faced girl is an Algonquin Indian version of the Cinderella story. In the village lived a man with three daughters. The youngest of the three was treated horribly by her sisters. She is forced to tend the fire and over time her arms and face became scarred and rough. In the same village lived an Invisible Being, who was said to be rich and powerful. Many of the girls in the village, including the three daughters wanted to marry this Invisible Being. The challenge was that his...more
Ages 8+
From Kirkus Reviews: An Algonquin Cinderella story, with accomplished but sometimes overliteral illustrations. A powerful invisible being will marry the woman who can prove that she's seen him; a poor man's two proud daughters try and fail, but the third, her face and hands scarred from tending the fire, has the understanding to see him everywhere in the world and is lovingly received. Martin's retelling is spare and understated, but never dry; the two sisters are richly comic figures, th...more
This traditional tale ia a haunting Native-American version of the Cinderella story. In order to marry the much-desired invisible being, you must be able to see him and prove it to his sister. Nobody was able to do that until the Rough-Face girl - whose body is scarred from feeding the fire under orders from her two sisters. She is able to see the invisible being with a bow made from a rainbow's curve and his sled from the Milky Way's stars. Recognizing the true kindness in her heart, the invisi...more
Jessica Loper
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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What other cultural stories did you really like? 3 11 Sep 28, 2011 11:48AM  
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  • Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story
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  • The Korean Cinderella
  • Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China
  • Pink and Say
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  • Too Many Tamales
  • One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale
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  • Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella
  • Domitila: A Cinderella Tale from the Mexican Tradition
This professional storyteller lives in Rochester, New York.
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