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The Turkey Girl : a Zuni Cinderella story

3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  115 ratings  ·  37 reviews
In this Indian variant of a familiar story, some turkeys make a gown of feathers for the poor girl who tends them so that she can participate in a sacred dance, but they desert her when she fails to return as promised.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by Little, Brown and Company
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Nov 22, 2014 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents readin with their children
This book offers a Zuni version of the classic tale of Cinderella. We've read several different versions of the story from various locations and highlighting different cultures. Shirley Climo has written at least four of these books (one of them featuring a male lead character).

This story is a bit different, though, and takes a harsher look at the lure of fancy dress and popularity. As the author's note at the beginning of the story states, "In contrast [to the European versions of the story], t
NS-Lisa Skrzypczynski
The Turkey Girl, by Penny Pollock, is a Zuni rendition of the traditional Cinderella tale. In this story, the main character is a young and poor girl who spends her days caring for turkeys. The Turkey Girl has always hoped and dreamed of going to the Dance of the Sacred Bird, but knows that she would never get the chance. One day, the Turkey Girl is surprised as the turkeys she tends to begin to speak and thank her for the dedication and kindness she has shown them over the years. The turkeys ma ...more
Most Cinderella stories end the way we expect them to. However, this Zuni version of Cinderella, The Turkey Girl, ends differently. The story is retold by Penny Pollock, who was inspired by the Native American version of CInderella. The story takes place in the American Southwest and the illustrator captures the warmth of the climate through the drawings.

The Native American Cinderella story is similar to the European version in that there is a poor girl who desires to attend a festival but cann
joanna Sondheim
A very different version of Cinderella, The Turkey Girl is a Zuni tale that emphasizes the importance of respecting the promises we make to nature. Ed Young's illustrations are lovely washes of color, but it is also hard to figure out what is being depicted in each one, and moments in the story, which might make for lovely visuals (turquoise necklaces and bracelets falling from the sky in one instance) makes the reader left wanting. As well, there seemed to be little thought given to the way the ...more
As the author notes in the beginning, the Zuni version of Cinderella differs from many others in that it does not have a happy ending. The unmistakable elements are there: a poor, hardworking girl is transformed by magical intervention (by a gobbler turkey instead of a godmother) in order to attend a special event (the Dance of the Sacred Bird). However, this Cinderella, the "Turkey Girl", does not come home before the sun rises and loses what little companionship she had with the turkeys.
The il
Paige Cedergreen
I liked this variation of Cinderella a lot. It has the general elements of Cinderella, such as the poor girl who receives help from someone to attend a dance or specific event and must return by midnight or after a specific amount of time has passed. This variation strays farther from the original story than most other variations do because the fairy-godmother or helper is a flock of turkeys.

I would read aloud this book during a fairy tale unit.I think that this can segway into the conversation
Kathy Gunn
A Zuni Folktale. Zunis are a Native American tribe found on Mount Rainier in New Mexico. This version does not end with a fairytale ending because the Native Americans believe that when we break our trust with Mother Earth, we pay a price.

Themes: Native Americans, folktale, making and keeping promises, consequences, Mother Earth

Classroom Ideas: Discuss the importance of keeping promises, consequences of our actions. Compare/Contrast different versions and keep track on a map where each version
Karin Gallian
I liked it but was saddened a little in the ending. This was a Zuni Cinderella story and the ending did not have the happily ever after. Instead, very fitting to Native American culture it showed what happens when you do not keep your word to Sun-Father and Earth-Mother. She is shunned by her tribe because she is poor and an orphan and tends to the Turkeys each day. The turkeys she tends to each day act as her fairy godmother but make a request that she return or else they will leave forever. Sh ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Title: The Turkey Girl
Author: Penny Pollock
Illustrator: Ed Young
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub. Date: 1996

Genre: Legend Picture Book
Grades: 1-6

This story is a Zuni Cinderella story. It is about a young maiden, who takes care of turkeys. When the Dance of the Sacred Bird comes, she feels that she cannot attend because of her raggy clothes. The turkeys magically help her get ready for the dance. The turkeys do not want to be forgotten, so the young maiden promises to return before the sun
Upon rereading this book I find the moral of the story incredibly harsh and wonder if this is a reflection of how difficult life was for the Zuni people.

The "young girl" who is the Cinderella character in this story, has faithfully watched over her flock or turkeys for an indeterminate amount of time. She is always kind to them, talking to them throughout the day, and bidding them goodnight each evening. While her kindness is rewarded by the turkeys who provide her with clothing to attend the d
Kris Brown
The Turkey Girl author is Penny Pollock and Ed Young is the illustrator. This folktale picturebook is a Native American Cinderella story and intended for primary and intermediate age groups. I would say this folktale is geared more for girls than boys. There were no awards presented to the author for this book.

A young, poor girl named Turkey Girl herd’s turkeys for a living. With the upcoming Dance of the Sacred Bird, the turkeys clean her hair and dress her in beautiful clothing and jewelry. T
Amanda Hamilton
A Cinderella story and Native American folktale, The Turkey Girl is an entertaining and thought-provoking story of a poor, orphaned girl who struggles to be accepted by her peers only to eventually lose all she has by being selfish. Ed Young brings the protagonist and her turkeys to life through beautiful illustrations.

The author created this version of the Turkey Girl’s story by consulting a collection of Zuni folktales compiled in the 1870s by Frank Hamilton Cushing. Pollack uses lyrical langu
I CANNOT take this book seriously.

As a Native American version, there is this element of quiet, dignified, solemnity inherent in the story. So as I'm reading this to my kids, I sort of blew the mood when the otherwise normal farmyard turkeys unexpectedly started talking:

'Willingly, the young girl followed them straight into their pen.

"Welcome to our home," said the old turkey. Without a further word, he directed the other birds to encircle the Turkey Girl. Breaking into song, with their heads h
Katrina Cole
This was a nice version of the classic Cinderella story, though very different as well. I really like the pastel artwork illustrations. There is a strong message in this story of a balance between animals and humans, which is very true to the Native American culture. This would be a good version to include for a comparative study of a very familiar story. Great for multicultural studies.
A Cinderella story in which the main character is a young girl who tends turkeys and is known in her village as the Turkey Girl. She longs to go to the big dance, but the likelihood of that seems impossible as she counts only rags and simple shoes among her possessions.

One day, one of the turkeys peaks to her and offers her help in realizing her dream. The turkeys gather around her and magically transform her rags into fine clothes and reveal her beauty beneath all the dirt and grime of her dail
The Turkey Girl is a poor orphan who is shunned from the community and keeps watch over the turkeys that belong to the wealthy members of her community. She is lonely, but used to her life and when the Dance of the Sacred Bird is announced, the Turkey Girl accepts that she will not attend with the others. But a surprise comes her way when the turkeys begin to talk to her and explain that because she has been so kind to them, they will help her go to the dance. All they ask is that she return bef ...more
A Zuni version of Cinderella, though it doesn't end the same way--more of a Cinderella meets animal fable. The Turkey Girl is a poor Zuni girl who tends the turkeys, prized for their feathers. She is ignored by everyone, until one day there is a Sacred Dance that she wants to attend. The turkeys are really magical beings who change her shoes and dress into something beautiful and then tell her to come back before sundown or they will have vanished forever. She is enjoying herself so much that sh ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mrs Bond
Turkey Girl is poor and cares for turkeys (hence the name). All are invited to a large feast, she feels that she is unworthy to attend. The turkeys work magic to create a beautiful gown for her; all they ask is that she return before nightfall. Turkey Girl goes to the feast, all are in awe. She returns too late, her turkey friends are gone, she is alone. Instead of being restored to her pre-wicked-stepmother self, she is simply restored to her poor self (minus the only friends she had, the turke ...more
A nice addition to a collection of Cinderella stories, this one highlights the important of remembering your friends and keeping your word. The Turkey Girl is poor and cast outside her tribe to care for the flock of turkeys. When the time comes for a great tribal ceremony, the turkeys repay her care and kindness by outfitting her for the event. She most only remember to return before the sun sets.

Ed Young's abstract illustrations are particularly lovely. His use of line and space suggest the exp
Not a Cinderella story and my daughter and I didn't care for the illustrations
Kya R
it was good.
L11-Mary Utterback
This is a Navajo folktale about how the laws of the land were created. The first woman on earth is trying to write the laws n the night sky. When a coyote comes to lend a hand. Growing more and more impatient he messes up the first woman’s plan. I have noticed after reading so many Native American tales that the coyote is consistent throughout. I wonder if this is because these tales were written out west? Or because the coyote was considered vary cunning? Any thoughts?

I really enjoyed this version of the Cinderella tale. One of the reasons I really enjoyed this version was because it did not have a happy ever after ending, and did not have a male character as the hero. This version also taught a good lesson for all students, that there are repercussions for our actions regardless of intent. Another interesting aspect of this version was the role nature and animals played in the tale.
The Turkey Girl is a Cinderella story from the Zuni. In this Cinderella story the girl is sent to the feast by her own gobbling turkeys she cares for. They clothe her in sparkling jewels, fine skins and feathers. As she runs off toward the feast she promises to remember the turkeys and to return to them before the sunsets. Unlike most Cinderella stories this girl loses everything when she does not keep her promise.
This is quite a twist to Cinderella. This Zuni version of Cinderella, that is more of a Cinderella meets animal fable,has no happy ending or a prince. The illustrations are awful and I found the story very unengaging. The only part of the story I found can be useful is the fact that the little girl does not keep her promise and suffers the consequences. This may serve as a teachable lesson for children.
Charles Martin
This American Indian Cinderella tale should come with a Debbie Downer sticker and "WHAAAA...waaa" soundtrack. The pictures made me sleepy, there was a lot of writing that seemed cheesy to me, and I didn't feel a lot happened, except my disappointment at the end. I wouldn't use this story in the classroom, because I didn't like it -- and students would know I didn't.
Lisa Rathbun
Lovely expressionistic illustrations enhance this Zuni Cinderella variant. The story is simple and straightforward with an important lesson, but many children will be disappointed with the ending. I'd use this in a 4-5th grade class with other Native American tales rather than in a unit of Cinderella tales.
Dec 02, 2007 Ronster rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Grades 2-6
A Zuni Cinderella tale. The turkey girl gets help from the turkeys so she can go to the festival, but she forgets the time and ends up losing out in the end. This could be used in a matrix to see how it compares to Cinderella stories from other cultures. Definitely a different ending than we are used to.
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