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The Rough Face Girl
Rafe Martin
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The Rough Face Girl

4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  7,549 ratings  ·  389 reviews
In a village by the shores of Lake Ontario lived an invisible being. All the young women wanted to marry him because he was rich, powerful, and supposedly very handsome. But to marry the invisible being the women had to prove to his sister that they had seen him. And none had been able to get past the sister's stern, all-knowing gaze.

Then came the Rough-Face girl, scarred
Published (first published April 13th 1998)
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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
The illustrations just SLAY me!

Gorgeous, beautiful and rich and dark and full and lively and soft and... I love them so much Pee-Wee Herman asked my why don't I marry them and I said "I will" and had a little ceremony and a honeymoon where I stared at them over and over...


The story is a nice adaptation, using what seem to be authentic Algonquin themes and mores, but as I am not Algonquin, I can only guess. The similarity to the classic "Cinderella" tale are obvious, but this story seem
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
“The Rough Face Girl” written by Rafe Martin, is an Algonquin Indian version of the classic Cinderella tale. The main character in this book is known by everyone as the ugly,"rough-face girl" a nickname bestowed upon for her less than appealing aesthetic. "Rough-face girl" is treated horribly throughout the book by her two older sisters, who are extremely conceited and viewed by the rest of tribe as beautiful women. All the women in the tribe strive to marry the great, rich, handsome, and all po ...more
Michael Torres
The Rough Face Girl gives the modern tale of Cinderella a unique, and inspiring twist. This story does a great job of teaching kids a moral lesson, never judge a book by it's cover. Our main character is a native woman who lives in a village with her sisters and father. She is covered in scars and burns marks due to trying to keep the fire pit within their home going. Immediately, you feel sorry for the girl, and almost want to offer her sympathy. It is as if the reader is experiencing the story ...more
Dannita Stanley
I thought The Rough-Face Girl was a great book. It is full of great themes that I feel are very important for students to learn at an early age. I am particularly drawn to stories where there is an "underdog" that wins in the end. I enjoy stories where students can learn what I feel are character building lessons such as "You can't judge a book by its cover" or "Material things don't define who we are."

I was drawn to the Rough Face Girl in this story because I immediately felt empathy for her. T
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
Jess Farabaugh

The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin is a Native American version of the classic children’s story Cinderella. It is a story about a powerful Invisible Being who is looking for a wife. Only the girl that can prove that she can see him will marry him. All the girls in the village want to be his bride but his sister is the one who stands in their way. His sister is the only one who can see him. She is the one who questions the other women in the village who claim they have seen him. Two beautiful sis
Stacey Cross
The Rough- Face Girl is extraordinary take on the classic Cinderella story. To be quite honest, The Rough- Face Girl seems so much more than a fairytale and offers more of a spiritual tale with depth and enlightenment. This story mirrors the classic Cinderella tale in that there are three sisters, two of which are pompous and self- centered and one that does all the work and is depicted as being less desirable. The two 'beautiful sisters' have a sense of entitlement and feel that they are defini ...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.
Jamie Therriault
Estimate of age level of interest: 1st-6th grade
Estimate of reading level: 3rd-4th grade

Brief Description: This is the story of the youngest of three sisters, all daughters of a poor Algonquin Indian man. The older sisters are mean to the youngest sister. In the end, all of the sisters get what they deserve.

Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre and subgenre and discuss how they appear in your book:
This is a story of traditional literature. This is another version of the familiar fol
Lorena Magallanes
The Rough-Faced Girl is an Algonquin tale, one of more than 1,500 versions of the basic Cinderella story! The youngest of three, the rough-faced girl was forced to "sit by the fire and feed the flames," while her sisters mocked her. Each pages is accompanied by a beautifully illustrated picture in a rigid, wood-like border. You can see the scars and burns so intricately placed along her young face. There is an "Invisible Being" that every maiden in the village wanted to marry, so her sisters put ...more
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
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
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.
Beth Dinger
This book is a version of "Cinderella" as told through an Algonquin Indian perspective. The prince is an "invisible being", there are two cruel sisters, and the cinderella character has a good heart although she is treated poorly and is scarred.

This book is an example of traditional literature as it is of an oral tradition with an unknown author. The story seeks to teach a lesson which is another characteristic of traditional literature.

This story would be a great resource for a unit about Nativ
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
Alyssa Weber
The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin is a Non-European piece of traditional literature. I would probably recommend this for students who are a little older, maybe nine to eleven. The story is based on the Cinderella story but instead emphasizes the Native American Culture. Therefore, any child could read the text, but it would be better understood through an older reader. In brief, the story is about an “invisible man” who all of the females are trying to marry. In order to be chosen the females m ...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
Christian Sam
I loved The Rough- Face Girl, it is a book for all young children to be able to read. This is a great teaching book about certain things a child should pick up at a very young age. It is its own Cinderella story in a type of way.

There are three sisters all of which want to marry the invisible being, though the Rough Face girl is scared up on the outside, she is amazing on the inside. Sisters who torment her about her looks, because they are beautiful on the outside, but ugly on the inside. The R
Alyssa Fortna
This book is provides a Native American spin on the classic story of Cinderella. It is about an invisible being that is searching for a wife. However, this can't just be any wife, the only girl that is able to marry him is the one who can prove that she can see him. Every girl in the village wants to marry him, however Rough-Face Girl is the one who sees him and becomes his wife. She is referred to as Rough-Face Girl because she has scars on her arms and face from tending to the fire. This is a ...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
Nicole S.
This lovely folktale was the winner of Georgia Children's Picture Storybook Award and winner of Nebraska Golden Sower Award.

The Rough Face Girl is an Algonquin Indian Cinderella. She was abused by her older sisters who were curel and hard-hearted. Searching for the Invisivble Being, she desired to marry him. She walked the beauty of the Earth with her Indian apparel and worned moccasins. She met the Invisible Being wise sister who gave her the finest of buckskin , robes and necklace of perfect
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What other cultural stories did you really like? 3 12 Sep 28, 2011 11:48AM  
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  • Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale
  • Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story
  • Cinder Edna
  • The Egyptian Cinderella
  • Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China
  • Crossing Bok Chitto
  • Pink and Say
  • Princess Furball
  • Baseball Saved Us
  • Domitila: A Cinderella Tale from the Mexican Tradition
  • Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale
  • Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella
  • Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave
  • Tea with Milk
  • The Golden Sandal: A Middle Eastern Cinderella Story
This professional storyteller lives in Rochester, New York.
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