Bibliographic Information: Martin, R., & Shannon, D. (1998). The rough-face girl. New York, NY: Puffin Books.
Brief Annotation: In this Algonquin version of the Cinderella story, the Rough-Face Girl and her two beautiful but haughty sisters wish to marry the mysterious Invisible Being- but first they must prove that they have seen him.
Genre: Folklore (Fairytale)
Grade Level: K and up
Readers who will like this: Readers who enjoy Cinderella; readers who love nature; readers who enjoy stories about Native Americans
Rating/Response: 4; I thought this was a lovely book. I thoroughly enjoyed Shannon’s illustrations, particularly the pictures of how the rough-face girl sees the Invisible Being. I loved that in this version of Cinderella, the Rough-Face Girl provides her own “ball gown,” and she is the pursuer rather than the pursued. I am always concerned about the accuracy and acceptability of stories depicting cultures that the author(s) are not from (such as Arrow to the sun). However, my brief research on this book turned up only one argument against the validity of The rough-face girl, and that argument could easily be applied to all retellings of the Grimm version of the Cinderella story, as well- that the author had played down the bleaker and more violent aspects of the story. Therefore, I would feel more comfortable sharing this story with a class than some of the other books that I have read.
One question you would ask before a read aloud: This book is about Cinderella. How many of you know the story of Cinderella? (Note if there are any children who are unfamiliar with Cinderella; adjust prompt as needed). As I am reading this story, I want you to think of two ways this story is the same as the Cinderella story that you know, and two ways this story is different.
Reading Strategy: Venn Diagram (Tompkins p.144-147)
Venn Diagrams would be a great strategy to use when doing comparison during a folktale unit. I would read two versions of the Cinderella story- The rough-face girl and a version that most of the kids would be familiar with, such as a book version of Disney’s Cinderella. I would ask the students before reading The rough-face girl to think of ways that it is the same and that it is different from the other version of Cinderella. After reading, I would ask the students, in small groups, to complete a Venn Diagram with main plot points and details that were the same in both stories, unique to Disney’s Cinderella, and unique to The rough-face girl. This strategy would work well for a folktale comparison because both stories would be fresh in the students’ minds, it would help sharpen their confidence in comparing and contrasting, it would appeal to students with visual and mathematical/logical learning styles, and would allow me to integrate two different subject areas (math and literacy).