Mirror, mirror on my wall
Who’s the silliest blogger of all?
Why me, of course.
Thank Goodness, It’s Fairy Tale Friday.
And do I ever have a treat for you today. I am reviewing The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin, illustrated by David Shannon. This is a version of the Cinderella story that will stay with you forever. I may or may not say that about all of the books I will review here. I don’t anticipate reviewing any books that I just can’t stand but never say never. I might stumble across one that is so intolerable that I feel it my civil duty to warn readers against it.
But not so with The Rough-Face Girl.
Author Rafe Martin has written over 20 books for both children and adults. Illustrator David Shannon is himself an author, too, and probably best recognized for his David books – your kids will know them – No, David!, David goes to School, David gets in Trouble, Oh, David! My four-year-old granddaughter knows all about that mischievous kid.
Rafe Martin has taken the original Algonquin Indian Cinderella story, shortened and simplified it for children. It is in an Algonquin Indian village on the shores of Lake Ontario that this story is set. The tale begins with the traditional “once, long ago” which I taught my students was an immediate indication that the story that followed was a fairy tale.
In this village, lived an Invisible Being who was said to be “very great, rich, powerful and supposedly handsome…however, no one could see him except his sister” who lived in a wigwam with him. Many of the village women longed to marry the Invisible Being but his sister decreed that the only one to marry her brother would be the woman who could see him.
Our Cinderella is the Rough-Face Girl, so named because she has often been burned then scarred while tending the fire in the wigwam she shares with her older sisters and elderly father.
[I took photos of several of the illustrations from a library copy of the book. They are much more vivid in real life.]
The older sisters set their collective minds on meeting and marrying the Invisible Being and ask their father for new buckskin dresses, and beaded moccasins.
When they present themselves in all their finery at the Invisible Being’s wigwam, his sister greets but warns them that only the woman who has seen her brother will marry him. She questions them for details on her brother’s appearance and can tell right away that neither girl has seen him.
Our main character wants to marry the Invisible Being, too, so asks her father for a new dress and shoes but he has nothing left to give her but hand-me-downs of his own. She takes them graciously and fashions herself an outfit that is, in her eyes, fit for meeting her prince.
When she arrives at the wigwam of the Invisible Being, she is warmly welcomed by his sister for she can see deep into the beautiful heart of the Rough-Face Girl.
I won’t tell you how the story ends but you have to, have to get a copy of this book so you can enjoy the magical ending. I just wouldn’t do Rafe Martin and David Shannon justice if I tried to re-tell their story here. The children I have shared it with over the years have been mesmerized by the story and the illustrations just as I was the first time I read The Rough-Face Girl.
I hesitate to put a link to the story in this post because the video version is not nearly as engaging as the Rafe Martin book. But it serves for comparing and contrasting the same story told in different ways.
I look for this book in the fairy tale section of every library where I sub because seeing it again is like being reunited with an old friend.
Hope you will feel the same way.