Title: The Rough-Face Girl
Author: Rafe Martin
Illustrator: David Shannon
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Published Date: 1992
This is a Native American retelling of the classic Cinderella story. All the young women of the village wanted to marry the “invisible man”. Not only did he have the nicest of things, but was thought to be very handsome. To be able to marry the Invisible Man, the woman must be able to see him. The Rough-Face Girl had two older sisters. They thought so much of themselves that they made the Rough-Face girl tend to the fire night and day. This made the girl have singed hair, rough skin and worn out clothing. The sisters decide that they want to marry the Invisible Man. They ask their father for new clothes. He gives them what they want to make them beautiful for the Invisible Man. When they get to the wigwam of the man, his sister stops them. They must prove that they can see the Invisible Man. They do not pass the test. Later, the Rough-Face Girl decides that it is time for her to ask to marry the Invisible Man. She sees him everywhere. In the sky, in the water and in all everyday things. She asks her father for new clothes, but he has given everything to her sisters. She makes new clothes and transforms used clothing into new. She doesn’t look beautiful at all, but is confident. She can see the man. The sister takes one look at her and laughs. The Rough-Face girl tells the sister that she can see him, in the clouds, in the air, in the water, and everywhere. She passes the test. And see marries the Invisible Man.
I love how this story takes the Disney version of Cinderella and shoves it out of the way. The Invisible man or “Prince” is not a prince. He does not have riches and such. He is looking for someone that can see him for himself and not for what he supposedly has. And the Rough-Face Girl is not chosen because she is beautiful on the outside, but for the beauty in her heart. It is a refreshing story.
The illustrations are beautiful. Every Native story that I’ve read have a mystical feel to them. The artist has taken this concept and run with it. Just from the illustrations you can see into the souls of the Rough-Face Girl and her sisters.