Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Rough-Face Girl

Martin, Rafe (Author)
Shannon, David (Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 1998. 32 pages
First published: 1992
ISBN: 9780698116269 (paperback)
9780399218590 (hardcover)
9781524740788 (e-book)
Original language: English
Dewey: 398
Book type: Picture Book
Book genre: Fairy Tale

Text Elements:

character, characterization, figurative language, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The Rough-Face Girl’s arms and face are burned when her heartless older sisters force her to sit too close to the family fire. In the village sits a huge wigwam in which, it is said, there lives “a very great, rich, powerful, and supposedly handsome Invisible Being.” The two mean, but beautiful, sisters prance through the village in fine blankets and shells, hoping to win his hand. But the stern sister of the Invisible Being guards his door: “If you want to marry my brother … you have to have seen him.”

While this is a wonderful read-aloud story for a wide range of ages, its length and dense, opulent language make it ideal for confident readers. Lavish and detailed illustrations sink readers into the world of the story. Expressive figures and faces add drama to the story’s understated language.

Experienced readers of fairy tales may be quick to interpret this story as a Native-style Cinderella story, but there are important differences. Cinderella has a fairy godmother; the Rough-Face Girl must rely on herself. Cinderella wears enchanted finery; the Rough-Face Girl must create her own, from bark and broken shells. And while Cinderella’s prince falls in love with a beautiful girl in glass slippers, the god-like Invisible Being recognizes Rough-Face Girl’s inner beauty at once. From this old tale, readers of all ages can derive wisdom for today.

  •  

    Discuss what made the Rough-Face Girl different from her sisters. Add her character traits to an ongoing anchor chart.

  •  

    Compare this story with a more traditional Cinderella story. Use a graphic organizer to help you understand the similarities.

  •  

    Read the author’s note at the front of the book. Write a letter or e-mail to the author and tell her what you enjoyed about the story.

  •  

    Discuss the Rough-Face Girl’s character and the attitude of her sisters. Have you ever encountered this kind of attitude?

  •  

    Before the story is finished, predict how you would see the “Invisible Being.”

  •  

    This story is reminiscent of a familiar fairy tale—use a graphic organizer to compare it to the tale of Cinderella.

  •  Prior to reading, browse through the illustrations and start a class glossary that you think will help you understand the story.
  •  In teams, construct a definition of a fairy tale. After validating your definitions as a class, write a journal entry on how this story fits the definition.
  •  After reading several other Cinderella-like fairy tales, select a favourite. Write a persuasive paragraph on why it belongs at the top of the list.
  • To communicate appropriately
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Social Sciences