Book Review: The Rough-Face Girl by Rafe Martin

A good friend of mine encourages my addiction to picture books. She tries to find books that are unique, well written, and incredibly illustrated. She nailed it with this book!

The Rough-Face Girl is written by Rafe Martin and illustrated by David Shannon. Set in a village “off the shores of Lake Ontario,” there is an Invisible Being who lives in a large wigwam painted with “pictures of the sun, moon, stars, plants, trees, and animals.” Many of the village women wish to marry this mysterious, supposedly handsome man. Only his sister can see him. She is the go-between and says, “Only the one who can see him can marry him.”

The illustrations take my breath away! The colors, details, and emotion captured in each one will keep the reader’s eye for more than just a passing glance. Shannon captures the culture and beauty of this Native American lore expertly. The illustrations can be used in art classes as excellent examples.

In the village, a poor man had three daughters, the older two are cruel to the youngest. They make her stay by the fire, which scars her arms and face and burns her hair. Hints of Cinderella are in this lore for sure, but it is still a nice twist on the familiar story. The two older sisters dress up and meet with the Invisible Being’s sister to marry the Invisible Being. The sisters asks a series of questions they cannot answer. They fail to see him and are punished. Then, the youngest daughter tries.

The love for Nature and Animals plays an integral role in this story. It teaches the reader the true beauty that lies within a pure heart. The story is sweet and meaningful.

I recommend this book for the excellent illustrations, cultural experience, and wonderful story.

What are your thoughts?