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The Rough Face Girl
Rafe Martin
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The Rough Face Girl

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  10,295 Ratings  ·  588 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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Apr 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My students and I read this book and instantly connected it to Cinderella. The students enjoyed the story and found it interesting.

"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 beautif
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
Ms. Kelly
Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lisa Vegan
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Ann Keller
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: americana, children-s
I loved this story! It's nice to see some different tales making their way into the scope of children's literature. Books such as these really broaden a child's mind, allowing them to empathize with other peoples and cultures.
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

A gorgeously illustrated fusion of Mi'kmaq folktales and the traditional French version of Cinderella. The youngest sister of three, scarred and ashed-stained, is the only one who can see the powerful Invisible Being for who he truly is, which eventually leads her to leave her abusive family for a better life. Here we see the tried-and-true concept of internal beauty triumphing over external, wonderfully detailed by the illustrations of David Shannon.

Brittany Van
Puffin Books, 1998, 32 pgs., Genre: Fiction, Grade level: 1-5, GR level: S, Lexile level: 540L
The Rough-Face Girl is a wonderful picture book due to its creative but effective life lesson as well as traditional Cinderella type story. This books reveals the how there are consequences not treating others nicely as shown with the two sisters who made the third sister keep to the fire to the extent that the fire charred and burnt her skin. In addition, it goes to show that you are more likely to be
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: traditional-lit
The Rough Face Girl by Rafe Martin is a retelling of Cinderella by using Native American folktale. The author states that this story is an original Algonquin Indian Cinderella story.

The Rough Face Girl was awarded the CBC children’s book of the year. Illustrated by David Shannon

The stories plot begins very similar to the traditional Cinderella version where two mean sisters mistreat the kind sister making her life sad and miserable. In this story we learn that the rough face girl is given that n
Allison Reilly

The Rough-Face Girl is a folktale based off of a well-known story, Cinderella. This book places a cultural twist on the typical story we think of. There are still two evil sisters, but instead they are going after a husband who is an invisible being. His hand is marriage is guarded by his all-knowing sister who knows who has truly seen him and who has not. Her face being scarred by ashes, she has to stand up for who she is in order to marry the man she is meant for.


Of all the Cinderella stories I have read or heard, The Rough-Face Girl, based on an Algonquin Indian tale, is one of my favorites.

It earns that distinction for the variation it takes on the theme, depicting the "Cinderella" character to actually have physically scars--tell-tale signs of cinders--on her aspect. This is in contrast to others, including the Disney version, that cast Cinderella as a victim of servitude or ill-will, though not actual harm. As a result, you are immediately sympathet
I love the concept.
I guess the reason is that women care so much about their looks, especially American women. There is vanity and superficiality inside of a lot of today's women, even if they don't recognize it in themselves. (For instance, some female who might appear plain all of the time might be the type to cry because she doesn't feel pretty. Maybe she's not the type to cry easily and wouldn't shed a tear over anything else, but if she feels ugly she'll cry. Females are sensitive to how th
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
Becca Noelle
Oct 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eva Leger
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-with-julia
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
Robyn Char
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this Algonquin Cinderella story, a young woman defies the cruelty of her sisters and village to win the heart of a great warrior who cannot be seen by any but the most worthy of people; to most, he is invisible. We watch the Rough Face Girl endure mocking and rough treatment, and still find the courage to love herself and the world around her. In this way, she answers the riddles that win her a husband: the great invisible warrior.

The Rough-Face Girl is an admirable heroine for her combinati
Feb 08, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: native-americans
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.
Dec 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful and moving story! The pictures are incredible. The whole book gives a look into the culture of how Native Americans passed on important lessons with a traditional classic many know. I highly recommend this and feel it is a must read no matter your age. I'm sure I'll be reading this again and again.
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
Well told story with a great moral. And David Shannon's illustrations rock!
Beautiful book that made me cry! Who said picture books aren't for adults? I loved this book so much!
Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the more interesting takes on the Cinderella story.
I love this retelling of Cinderella. A little different, but great! Definitely one to own!!
“In time, her hands became burnt and scarred. Her arms too became rough and scarred. Even her face was marked by the fire…”

One upon a time, there lived a poor man with three daughters. Like all the young girls in the village, the man’s daughters admired and wanted to marry the rich and powerful Invisible Being who lived in a wigwam decorated with images of beautiful scenery. The youngest of the three daughters was treated like a servant and ordered by her heartless sisters to tend the fire, whic
Receiving the 1993 Bookseller’ Choice Award from the Association of Booksellers for Children, Rafe Martin's retelling of this Cinderella tale from Algonquin Indian folklore is both beautiful and haunting.

The Rough-Face Girl , a shortened version of the original Algonquin tale, tells the story of the youngest daughter of a poor man who is abused by her sisters and forced to feed the flames of their dwindling fire. With burnt, scarred skin and ragged hair, no one in the village can see the true
Megan Garrison
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I remember this book from elementary school. I'm starting to collect books from my childhood (although I wish I had the originals, though most I didn't own and got either from my school or town library) and this is one of the first ones I decided to get.

I remember loving this book as I was always interested in Native Americans because of my own family's Maliseet heritage. The illustrations are beautiful and evocative. It's somewhat of a Cinderella story, but on my first adult reading I have a bi
Hannah Rogers

This book is an Algonquin Indian folk tale. It is a powerful version of the Cinderella story. In a small village there lived a girl who was severely scarred from working by the fire. There was an handsome, powerful invisible being that all the girls in the village wanted to marry however none succeeded, not even the rough face girl's wicked older sisters. The rough face girl is strong and smart and she wins the heart of the invisible being. She is no longer scarred and the invisible being marri

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What other cultural stories did you really like? 3 13 Sep 28, 2011 11:48AM  
  • Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella
  • Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
  • Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella
  • Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story
  • Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale
  • The Korean Cinderella
  • Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China
  • Cinder Edna
  • Awful Ogre's Awful Day
  • Pink and Say
  • One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale
  • Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave
  • Dinorella: A Prehistoric Fairytale
  • Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella
  • Crossing Bok Chitto
  • Baseball Saved Us
  • Domitila: A Cinderella Tale from the Mexican Tradition
  • Princess Furball
This professional storyteller lives in Rochester, New York.
More about Rafe Martin