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The Turkey Girl: A Zuni Cinderella Story

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In this Indian variant of a familiar story, some turkeys make a gown of feathers for the poor girl who tends them so that she can participate in a sacred dance, but they desert her when she fails to return as promised.


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In this Indian variant of a familiar story, some turkeys make a gown of feathers for the poor girl who tends them so that she can participate in a sacred dance, but they desert her when she fails to return as promised.

30 review for The Turkey Girl: A Zuni Cinderella Story

  1. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    A poor orphan with no friends and no possessions, Turkey Girl eked out a living by caring for the turkeys which belonged to the more affluent families in her Zuni settlement, given scraps of food and rags in payment. When the Dance of the Sacred Bird is announced, she grieves that she is unable to attend, until the turkeys magically provide her with jewels and a beautiful dress. They warn her that she must return to them before sundown, or she will lose them forever, and she promises, but dancin A poor orphan with no friends and no possessions, Turkey Girl eked out a living by caring for the turkeys which belonged to the more affluent families in her Zuni settlement, given scraps of food and rags in payment. When the Dance of the Sacred Bird is announced, she grieves that she is unable to attend, until the turkeys magically provide her with jewels and a beautiful dress. They warn her that she must return to them before sundown, or she will lose them forever, and she promises, but dancing can be addictive... Adapted from a story in Frank Hamilton Cushing's 1901 Zuñi Folk Tales , this Zuni variant on the 'persecuted heroine' tale type (sometimes known as the 'Cinderella story') is quite unusual. It is more of a pourquoi story, explaining how turkeys came to live separately from humans, than it is a tale of a mistreated but kind girl getting her just reward, and it is quite atypical, in its unhappy ending. Penny Pollock's retelling here was engaging enough, although it didn't strike a strong chord with me. Similarly, the accompanying pastel and oil crayon illustrations from Ed Young didn't do much for me. I found them interesting, on the whole, but also thought them a little too blurry and indistinct. Tastes vary of course, so I'd still recommend The Turkey Girl: A Zuni Cinderella Story to young folktale lovers, as well as to readers interested in the Cinderella tale type in world folklore.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenelle

    I CANNOT take this book seriously. As a Native American version, there is this element of quiet, dignified, solemnity inherent in the story. So as I'm reading this to my kids, I sort of blew the mood when the otherwise normal farmyard turkeys unexpectedly started talking: 'Willingly, the young girl followed them straight into their pen. "Welcome to our home," said the old turkey. Without a further word, he directed the other birds to encircle the Turkey Girl. Breaking into song, with their heads h I CANNOT take this book seriously. As a Native American version, there is this element of quiet, dignified, solemnity inherent in the story. So as I'm reading this to my kids, I sort of blew the mood when the otherwise normal farmyard turkeys unexpectedly started talking: 'Willingly, the young girl followed them straight into their pen. "Welcome to our home," said the old turkey. Without a further word, he directed the other birds to encircle the Turkey Girl. Breaking into song, with their heads held high and their wings fluttering, they danced round the young maiden, dusting her with the soft tips of their wings. Dirt and twigs fell from her black hair, which began to shine like a starlit night. Brighter still glowed her dark eyes. Satisfied with her cleanliness, the turkeys again encircled the Turkey Girl. With their heads turned away, they fanned out their beautiful tails and entwined their wings to give her a small room in which to undress. "Lay your clothes on the ground," said the big gobbler. The Turkey Girl spread her tattered dress and ragged shawl on the ground next to her yucca sandals. Swaying up and down, the turkeys treaded and tapped new life into her old clothes. They sang while they worked...' The turkey dancing magically transforms her clothes into some pretty fine duds, trimmed, of course, with turkey feathers. The Old Turkey tells her she needs jewels, which she doubts is possible, but "the gobbler tosse[s] his head in a superior way" and explains how the turkeys have been collecting treasures the careless humans drop for many moons and storing them in their gullets. What a lovely visual. But wait, it gets better: They tell her to stand still, while they fly above her head, "circling slowly, gurgling softly, as they coughed up their treasures." Magical. That's the word you were thinking, right? Now, to solidify how just how petty turkeys really are, they tell her: "We ask no thanks...you have given us much. We wish to repay your kindness. All we ask is that you don't forget us. For if you do, we will understand that you are mean of spirit and deserve the hard life that is yours." So instead of having to be back by midnight because the magic runs out, the turkeys tell her she has to be back to prove her loyalty. The story then returns to its former dignified manner. I fully admit it was rather unbecoming to giggle and snort, especially if this is a legitimate Zuni tale. But can you see what I mean? Honestly-- snotty turkeys!

  3. 4 out of 5

    N_carlyl

    Most Cinderella stories end the way we expect them to. However, this Zuni version of Cinderella, The Turkey Girl, ends differently. The story is retold by Penny Pollock, who was inspired by the Native American version of CInderella. The story takes place in the American Southwest and the illustrator captures the warmth of the climate through the drawings. The Native American Cinderella story is similar to the European version in that there is a poor girl who desires to attend a festival but cann Most Cinderella stories end the way we expect them to. However, this Zuni version of Cinderella, The Turkey Girl, ends differently. The story is retold by Penny Pollock, who was inspired by the Native American version of CInderella. The story takes place in the American Southwest and the illustrator captures the warmth of the climate through the drawings. The Native American Cinderella story is similar to the European version in that there is a poor girl who desires to attend a festival but cannot go because she is restricted in some way. The Cinderella of this story, The Turkey Girl, is named because of her responsibility to care for the town's turkeys. After many long days of caring for the turkeys, she finds that the town's festival will be taking place. Her only chance of going to the Dance of the Sacred Bird is when one of her turkeys surprisingly responds to her wishes. She never knew that all the time she cared for the turkeys, they were listening to her and appreciated her loyalty. The turkeys were able to give her clothes and jewels to wear so she could attend the festival. The turkeys only request was that she make it back before the sun sets. So Turkey Girl accepted the donations and promised to return. However, Turkey Girl was enjoying the festival too much that she did not make it back before the sun set and the turkeys stayed true to their promise. The Turkey Girl returned to find them gone. Read the book to find out what the Native American culture believes may happen when a human breaks a bond with nature. This story would be a wonderful story to read aloud in elementary classes especially when learning about the different regions of America. It could also be useful as a way to show children how authors find their vision for a story. There is an informative Author's note that is important to read prior to the story. The author shares important background information and sets the tone for the Zuni version of Cinderella.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    After learning about this book in the article Proceed with Caution: Using Native American Folktales in the Classroom by Debbie Reese, I was very interested to read it. The Turkey Girl: A Zuni Cinderella Story has many similarities when compared to the Disney's Cinderella story we know today. It is about a poor young girl, whose name is Turkey Girl, who does not have any family to care for her. She works for another family and tends to their turkeys while the whole community is unkind to her. She After learning about this book in the article Proceed with Caution: Using Native American Folktales in the Classroom by Debbie Reese, I was very interested to read it. The Turkey Girl: A Zuni Cinderella Story has many similarities when compared to the Disney's Cinderella story we know today. It is about a poor young girl, whose name is Turkey Girl, who does not have any family to care for her. She works for another family and tends to their turkeys while the whole community is unkind to her. She wants to go to the Dance of the Sacred Bird but is conflicted when she knows she does not have the means to go to the dance. When the turkeys hear her concerns, they make her a dress and jewelry to repay her for all that she has done for them. She promises to return before "Sun-Father returns to his sacred place" to prove she won't forget the turkeys. Just like in Disney's Cinderella, she breaks her promise. I don't want to create any spoilers, so I will not share what happens next- although it is different from the Disney version! After reading the assigned article, I was curious to see if I would enjoy reading this picture book. Even with Reese's comments in mind, I thought it was interesting and I still liked the twist at the end. I expected it to end similarly to the Disney Cinderella, and it did not at all so I enjoyed this unforeseen change of events. On the other hand, I found the illustrations a little confusing. I felt that the pictures did not compliment what was in the text. The readers are never able to see the beautiful dress, jewelry or feasts. I also felt that the use of the very dark colors did not match the mood of the text. Especially when they were at the dance, I expected to see more bright colors, yet it was still mainly dark. I also felt that the illustrations did not have much detail, so it did not bring the story to life like I was hoping for. Along with the illustrations, I chose to give this book two starts because of the lack of accurate information presented in the text. As Reese explains, many parts of this book do not relate to the Zuni culture. For example, people in the Pueblo culture are very close and children are born into extended families. In this story, our main character, Turkey Girl, is an orphan. This would never happen in this culture, and is therefore extremely inaccurate. Reese also addresses how the ending does not come to a close with any mention of forming of the land. This is a major component of the original story, so the fact that Pollock left this out is alarming. Although I enjoyed the story itself, with these concerns in mind, I could not fully respect this story. In order to appreciate traditional literature, the story must present accurate information regarding the culture of the book. I would not share this book with my class due to this issue. If it was necessary, though, I would pair it with another book showing the Zuni culture so students would have a better understanding of the culture. I could not find this book anywhere in my public library, so I looked on YouTube and found a video of a teacher reading it aloud. In my opinion, the teacher used his hands too much while reading, so it was a little distracting. Other than that though I enjoyed listening to the teacher who was reading it aloud.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    A Cinderella story with a completely different ending.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Skripps

    The Turkey Girl, by Penny Pollock, is a Zuni rendition of the traditional Cinderella tale. In this story, the main character is a young and poor girl who spends her days caring for turkeys. The Turkey Girl has always hoped and dreamed of going to the Dance of the Sacred Bird, but knows that she would never get the chance. One day, the Turkey Girl is surprised as the turkeys she tends to begin to speak and thank her for the dedication and kindness she has shown them over the years. The turkeys ma The Turkey Girl, by Penny Pollock, is a Zuni rendition of the traditional Cinderella tale. In this story, the main character is a young and poor girl who spends her days caring for turkeys. The Turkey Girl has always hoped and dreamed of going to the Dance of the Sacred Bird, but knows that she would never get the chance. One day, the Turkey Girl is surprised as the turkeys she tends to begin to speak and thank her for the dedication and kindness she has shown them over the years. The turkeys magically changed her old rags into a beautiful doeskin dress, and showered her with beautiful jewelry. The one thing the turkeys ask is that the Turkey Girl returns in time to take care of them. They warn the young girl that if she does not, they will leave her and she will have no source of income. The Turkey Girl vows to return as she feels forever indebted to her beloved turkeys. However, the Turkey Girl has so much fun at the dance that she decides that the turkeys are just birds and not very important. When she returns, her turkeys are gone and she is left in a pile of rags. One of the reasons that I really liked this version of Cinderella is that it did not have the “traditional” happy ending. I thought that it was interesting that the Turkey Girl did not fall in love in the end and live happily ever after. I liked that this culture’s version of the story was used as a way to teach life lessons and morals to their children. I think that using this book in the classroom would be a good way to introduce students to cultural variations to the stories they know and love. I also think that it would be helpful in teaching young children about the importance of keeping your word and promises. Another thing that stood out to me in this book was Ed Young’s illustrations. I thought that they enriched the text very much as they reflected traditional Native American art.

  7. 5 out of 5

    joanna Sondheim

    A very different version of Cinderella, The Turkey Girl is a Zuni tale that emphasizes the importance of respecting the promises we make to nature. Ed Young's illustrations are lovely washes of color, but it is also hard to figure out what is being depicted in each one, and moments in the story, which might make for lovely visuals (turquoise necklaces and bracelets falling from the sky in one instance) makes the reader left wanting. As well, there seemed to be little thought given to the way the A very different version of Cinderella, The Turkey Girl is a Zuni tale that emphasizes the importance of respecting the promises we make to nature. Ed Young's illustrations are lovely washes of color, but it is also hard to figure out what is being depicted in each one, and moments in the story, which might make for lovely visuals (turquoise necklaces and bracelets falling from the sky in one instance) makes the reader left wanting. As well, there seemed to be little thought given to the way the text interacts with the illustrations, and there are many occasions in which is hard to read what is printed on the page because of the way it blends in with the pictures. The story itself is an interesting one about a young turkey herder, who is enabled to attend a festival, by the magic of the turkeys she cares for. The caveat is that she return to them before dark, otherwise the turkeys will be granted their freedom, and she will be left with nothing. The girl gets carried away by the music and dancing at the festival and returns after dark to find the turkeys gone, along with her livelihood. The story's moral, about respecting the promises we make to the earth, is a good one, but the interaction between the illustrations and the text make it an unlikely book of interest for many readers.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    This book offers a Zuni version of the classic tale of Cinderella. We've read several different versions of the story from various locations and highlighting different cultures. Shirley Climo has written at least four of these books (one of them featuring a male lead character). This story is a bit different, though, and takes a harsher look at the lure of fancy dress and popularity. As the author's note at the beginning of the story states, "In contrast [to the European versions of the story], t This book offers a Zuni version of the classic tale of Cinderella. We've read several different versions of the story from various locations and highlighting different cultures. Shirley Climo has written at least four of these books (one of them featuring a male lead character). This story is a bit different, though, and takes a harsher look at the lure of fancy dress and popularity. As the author's note at the beginning of the story states, "In contrast [to the European versions of the story], the various Native American versions end with the hard truth that when we break our trust with Mother Earth, we pay a price." The story is somewhat heartbreaking, but does help to depict life on the Pueblo for the Zunis. The oil crayon and pastel illustrations are softly muted and have a melancholy feel, with more nuances in the coloration than in detail. Overall, it's a very interesting story and we really enjoyed reading it together.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    As the author notes in the beginning, the Zuni version of Cinderella differs from many others in that it does not have a happy ending. The unmistakable elements are there: a poor, hardworking girl is transformed by magical intervention (by a gobbler turkey instead of a godmother) in order to attend a special event (the Dance of the Sacred Bird). However, this Cinderella, the "Turkey Girl", does not come home before the sun rises and loses what little companionship she had with the turkeys. The il As the author notes in the beginning, the Zuni version of Cinderella differs from many others in that it does not have a happy ending. The unmistakable elements are there: a poor, hardworking girl is transformed by magical intervention (by a gobbler turkey instead of a godmother) in order to attend a special event (the Dance of the Sacred Bird). However, this Cinderella, the "Turkey Girl", does not come home before the sun rises and loses what little companionship she had with the turkeys. The illustrations appear to be chalk or oil pastel drawings and are hauntingly beautiful and evocative of the desert and the native culture. The turkey motif is embedded in the illustrations throughout the book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charles Martin

    This American Indian Cinderella tale should come with a Debbie Downer sticker and "WHAAAA...waaa" soundtrack. The pictures made me sleepy, there was a lot of writing that seemed cheesy to me, and I didn't feel a lot happened, except my disappointment at the end. I wouldn't use this story in the classroom, because I didn't like it -- and students would know I didn't.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Canadian Reader

    Interesting "Cinderella" story...as the author herself notes, there's no happy ending here. I did not like the Ed Young paintings. Their hazy abstraction makes this tale even more remote to the children who might read it. Not recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Not impressed by Ed Young. Bland illustrations with not much to them. Design of the pages sometimes difficult to read - black text on the darkest part of the page.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachel T.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoy Cinderella stories from all over the world and thus collect them. While this has many elements of the “Cinderella” tradition: an isolated/desolate girl, a great community event, magical mentor, a transformation, and a deadline; it reads more like a fable and creation story; albeit a good one. “The Turkey Girl” is an orphan who takes care of the village’s turkeys. She is shunned by the townsfolk, who repay her care of the turkeys by giving her cast-off clothes and corn. Other than that, t I enjoy Cinderella stories from all over the world and thus collect them. While this has many elements of the “Cinderella” tradition: an isolated/desolate girl, a great community event, magical mentor, a transformation, and a deadline; it reads more like a fable and creation story; albeit a good one. “The Turkey Girl” is an orphan who takes care of the village’s turkeys. She is shunned by the townsfolk, who repay her care of the turkeys by giving her cast-off clothes and corn. Other than that, there is no interaction with anyone other than her turkeys, who she takes good care of. However, other than this, there is nothing else of kindness, inner beauty, or goodness about her as with other Cinderellas. In fact, she references how the others leave her out more than we actually see that they do. When a dance is announced, she wants to go but decides she can’t because of her appearance; a little shortsighted on her part once again, because no one actually forbids her to go or teases her. She just decides she can’t. The next part progresses like a normal Cinderella story. Her kindness to the turkeys is returned by them when they suddenly begin to talk to her and provide her everything she needs to go to the dance, the beautiful dress and jewels but with no specific special trinket. This omission isn’t significant in this version of the tale; because, the real lesson from the book is to not be caught up in material goods and impressing others so much that you forget your promises and your friends. The turkeys tell her to be back before sunset or they will abandon her altogether, because they will realize that she is “mean-spirited” like her other “tall brothers.” From the start of the dance, her intention is to prove that she can be included. As the dance progresses, she constantly puts off leaving. Finally, she leaves the party but does not get home in time. The turkeys we gone. The story ends with an explanation of this being the reason turkeys are wild. As a Cinderella story, I find it weak. However, as a beautiful and illustrative folk tale about important values, this is an excellent story. The Turkey Girl is a realistic character who wants to be included and wants what others have. While she is loyal at first to her turkey friends, she is caught up in the admiration and fun at the party. Even other Cinderellas miss the deadline. However, she misses the deadline even knowing that dire consequences would happen if she did. No other Cinderellas faced this. Still, this is a more humanistic story, as many know things are dangerous and irresponsible but do them anyway. The Turkey Girl is no exception. By the end of the story, we can hope that she has learned her lesson, but the story has an ambiguous ending as many oral tradition stories do. The point is in the lesson and not the character. It’s just not an underdog story. The retelling is poignant and appropriately styled for the culture. The illustrations are colorful, surreal, and vibrant. Sometimes, the illustrations are a bit too abstract and make it difficult to read the text. Still, it’s a well crafted tale but not a Cinderella story, at least in my opinion.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    I've read The Turkey Girl before, though I remember it slightly different -- where the Turkey Girl chases after the turkeys, through canyons, but fails to catch them. It's a really lovely story. I love that it doesn't have a happy ending. There are consequences. The art is by the same artist who illustrated Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China, another classic fairy tale picture book. It's sort of a hazy, abstract art, which I wouldn't think would be good for children, but my daughter l I've read The Turkey Girl before, though I remember it slightly different -- where the Turkey Girl chases after the turkeys, through canyons, but fails to catch them. It's a really lovely story. I love that it doesn't have a happy ending. There are consequences. The art is by the same artist who illustrated Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China, another classic fairy tale picture book. It's sort of a hazy, abstract art, which I wouldn't think would be good for children, but my daughter loves it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    Not your typical happily ever after fairy tale. A Native American version of Cinderella wherein our Cinderella character , the Turkey girl, ends up with nothing, no friends, no prince and most importantly no turkeys. I knew from the author's note going in there wouldn't be a happy ending. (view spoiler)[ and totally called it when the turkey's extracted a promise for her to be home before the sun set. (hide spoiler)] But I wasn't all on board with it. I get the moral of the story "keep your prom Not your typical happily ever after fairy tale. A Native American version of Cinderella wherein our Cinderella character , the Turkey girl, ends up with nothing, no friends, no prince and most importantly no turkeys. I knew from the author's note going in there wouldn't be a happy ending. (view spoiler)[ and totally called it when the turkey's extracted a promise for her to be home before the sun set. (hide spoiler)] But I wasn't all on board with it. I get the moral of the story "keep your promises" but this isn't one of my favorites. Recommended? Yes because I still enjoy different cultural takes on the same basic premise Buy/Borrow? Borrow

  16. 4 out of 5

    Maria Rowe

    This is a Zuni version of Cinderella. There are several similarities (poor, orphaned girl, animal friends, big dance) but the big difference is it doesn’t have a happy ending. Turkey Girl has been selfish by not returning by midnight like she promised, so she loses her turkey friends forever. Not my favorite Cinderella variation… The illustrations by Ed Young have a dreamlike quality to them, and are a mix of really beautiful and really drab. Several pages have dark backgrounds with black text t This is a Zuni version of Cinderella. There are several similarities (poor, orphaned girl, animal friends, big dance) but the big difference is it doesn’t have a happy ending. Turkey Girl has been selfish by not returning by midnight like she promised, so she loses her turkey friends forever. Not my favorite Cinderella variation… The illustrations by Ed Young have a dreamlike quality to them, and are a mix of really beautiful and really drab. Several pages have dark backgrounds with black text that are extremely difficult to read. Materials used: oil crayon and pastel

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    This was a story about a girl who did not fit in she only had turkey friends well one day a big festival was coming and she was crying she could not go well the turkeys made her a dress and to look beautiful but they made her promise to be back before father son rised or they would leave so when she did not return before the son the turkeys have left and that is why turkeys always stay away from their tall brothers because she broke her promise

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Booklist (Vol. 92, No. 16 (April 15, 1996)) Gr. 4-6. A young Turkey Girl forgets her debt to her loving flock and ends up with nothing in this retelling of a Zuni tale. Turkey Girl, outcast and poor, goes to a great feast with the help of her turkeys, who dance her a becoming costume and rich jewels. But she forgets her promise to return before the sun sets, and when she finally does remember, it is too late: the turkeys have gone, and nothing remains. The bleakness of the tale is softened by You Booklist (Vol. 92, No. 16 (April 15, 1996)) Gr. 4-6. A young Turkey Girl forgets her debt to her loving flock and ends up with nothing in this retelling of a Zuni tale. Turkey Girl, outcast and poor, goes to a great feast with the help of her turkeys, who dance her a becoming costume and rich jewels. But she forgets her promise to return before the sun sets, and when she finally does remember, it is too late: the turkeys have gone, and nothing remains. The bleakness of the tale is softened by Young's elegantly evocative pastel and oil crayon illustrations. Desert violets and rich reds complement one another against the spacious backdrop of the southwestern sky. The changing light, a constant indication of the emotional tenor of the plot, glows with reflected firelight, the sun's setting rays, and the chill twilight shadows. Pollock's retelling is steady and solid, and her source is clearly indicated in an author's note that gives some background on the tale. Horn Book starred (September, 1996) This unusual version with its rather abrupt ending provides an interesting contrast to European variations of the Cinderella story. In an introductory note, Pollock contends that the "various Native American versions end with the hard truth that when we break our trust with Mother Earth, we pay a price." Moody, textured pastel and oil-crayon illustrations evoke the southwestern desert. Kirkus Reviews (1996) Unlike most Cinderella variants, this retelling of a Zuni story ends unhappily, and hinges on the main character's unfaithfulness. When the ragged turkey herder hears that a Dance of the Sacred Bird is to be held in nearby Hawikuh, she weeps--until her avian friends magic her clothes into splendid garments, hawk up silver and jewelry that they've collected in their crops for years, and send her off, charging her to return before sunset or prove herself "mean of spirit." Enthralled by the music and the men, she delays too long, and loses turkeys, fine clothing, and any hope of respect from her peers. Pollock (Garlanda, 1980, etc.) tells the tale in formal, flowing style, with long sentences and polite dialogue; Young's large, impressionistic scenes only hint of place, dress, or culture, but fully capture the story's changing moods with floating, indistinct figures and strongly colored light. A graceful, dreamy episode. Publishers Weekly (April 29, 1996) In this sobering Native American variation of the Cinderella story, the focus is not on finding true love but on remaining true to one's promises. To repay the kindness of the poor orphan girl who tends them, the tribe's turkeys dress her in a fine doeskin robe so she can attend the Dance of the Sacred Bird. So enthralled is she with the dancing that she breaks her promise to return to the turkeys before dawn and consequently loses her friends forever. Pollock frequently interrupts the narrative with references to Zuni clothing and dwellings-the girl's yucca sandals, her "turquoise necklaces and earrings of delicate beauty." In contrast, Young's (Lon Po Po) characteristically abstract illustrations evoke the sunlight and heat of the pueblo villages with few visual clues about the story itself. Except for the heroine's beautiful face, the characters and setting are hazy shadows, often appearing simply as dark silhouettes. The reader never sees the celebrated gown, which is shrouded in a mantle; the dancers at the festival are barely visible smudges seen through the pueblo's doorways. Like the music of story hour radio shows, these illustrations set a mood, forcing the reader to fill in the visual details. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) School Library Journal (May 1996) K-Gr 3--In this version of the Cinderella story, a poor outcast Zuni girl who tends turkeys longs to attend the Dance of the Sacred Bird. Observing her suffering, the turkeys outfit her in a white doeskin dress adorned with rare shells, as well as turquoise necklaces and earrings, and silver bracelets. To prove that she remembers them, she promises to return from the dance "before Sun-Father returns to his sacred place." As in other retellings, she does not keep her word. At this point, the story diverges greatly from the version with which most American children will be familiar: when she finally returns home, the turkeys have abandoned her forever. As an author's note points out, the story symbolically reinforces the moral that "when we break our trust with Mother Earth, we pay a price." Pollock explains that she found this story in a collection of Zuni folktales collected by Frank Hamilton Cushing, but does not provide the source. Young's spare oil crayon and pastel illustrations contain almost elemental forms that sometimes merely suggest the objects they depict. The artist makes the most of the desert's dramatic lighting, creating shadowy backgrounds that draw attention to the story's spiritual underpinnings. While his palette jumps wildly from pale shades to the most vibrant pinks, blues, and golds of a vivid desert sunset, the illustrations do not detract from Pollock's thoughtful retelling, which itself gracefully captures the Zuni landscape. Unfortunately, many pages are difficult to read due to a lack of contrast between the illustrations and the words placed on top of them.--Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shana

    Not what one would expect, but it is a realistic take on the consequences we might face based on the choices we make.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Abby M. Ganhar

    For some reason I remember finding the ending to this one really sad as a kid.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shiloah

    Kind of a sad story with illustrations so abstract it is difficult to enjoy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katie Merkel

    The story is good, but beware; the ending is not what you expect.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Hamilton

    A Cinderella story and Native American folktale, The Turkey Girl is an entertaining and thought-provoking story of a poor, orphaned girl who struggles to be accepted by her peers only to eventually lose all she has by being selfish. Ed Young brings the protagonist and her turkeys to life through beautiful illustrations. The author created this version of the Turkey Girl’s story by consulting a collection of Zuni folktales compiled in the 1870s by Frank Hamilton Cushing. Pollack uses lyrical langu A Cinderella story and Native American folktale, The Turkey Girl is an entertaining and thought-provoking story of a poor, orphaned girl who struggles to be accepted by her peers only to eventually lose all she has by being selfish. Ed Young brings the protagonist and her turkeys to life through beautiful illustrations. The author created this version of the Turkey Girl’s story by consulting a collection of Zuni folktales compiled in the 1870s by Frank Hamilton Cushing. Pollack uses lyrical language, and regional words, such as arroyo and mesa, when writing the text. The story is flowing and beautifully written. The text creates a picture of the Zuni way of life in the pueblo’s of New Mexico that is further enhanced by Young’s illustrations. Living off turkeys that she raises and trades for food and clothes, Turkey Girl is a Native American Cinderella. She works hard for all she has only to be shunned by people in her village because she is dirty and wears rags. When the annual harvest dance takes place she longs to go but feels unwelcome, she cries tears that compel her flock to come to her rescue. Using their feathers and jewels they stored in their throats, the turkey clean, dress, and ornament Turkey Girl, asking only that she return before sunrise to show her appreciation. At the dance Turkey Girl feels respected for the first time and receives attention from the braves and maidens who shunned her. She ignores her promise to return to the turkeys until the moment before sunrise and arrives at their pen only to find herself back in rags and her turkeys gone. The Turkey Girl does not end happily, because she did not keep her word, she ends up worse off then before she knew of the turkeys’ magic. Keeping your promises and the value of honesty in Zuni culture is evident through the conclusion of this work. Her hard work won Turkey Girl the respect of animals and an opportunity to change her life, but her abandonment of those who provided for her left with nothing. This ending of the book stimulates discussion of character values as well as a comparison of variations of the Cinderella story. Illustrations by Caldecott Medal and Caldecott Honor book winning artist Ed Young make turkeys beautiful and showcase the southwest landscape in this book. Young uses oil crayon, and pastels in shades of blue, green, black, and purple to tell Turkey Girl’s story. Simple lines and smudged borders create the illusion of the desert and mountains of New Mexico while shadows and shading of the artwork, painted on beige, orange or blue backgrounds shows emotion. An outstanding story with equally outstanding illustrations makes The Turkey Girl a great book for older elementary readers. A traditional story that educates the reader, and also shares why turkeys run wild, Pollack has created an excellent and enjoyable book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kris Brown

    The Turkey Girl author is Penny Pollock and Ed Young is the illustrator. This folktale picturebook is a Native American Cinderella story and intended for primary and intermediate age groups. I would say this folktale is geared more for girls than boys. There were no awards presented to the author for this book. A young, poor girl named Turkey Girl herd’s turkeys for a living. With the upcoming Dance of the Sacred Bird, the turkeys clean her hair and dress her in beautiful clothing and jewelry. T The Turkey Girl author is Penny Pollock and Ed Young is the illustrator. This folktale picturebook is a Native American Cinderella story and intended for primary and intermediate age groups. I would say this folktale is geared more for girls than boys. There were no awards presented to the author for this book. A young, poor girl named Turkey Girl herd’s turkeys for a living. With the upcoming Dance of the Sacred Bird, the turkeys clean her hair and dress her in beautiful clothing and jewelry. The turkeys explain the rules of receiving the gifts of clothes and jewelry. If Turkey Girl did not return before the sun set, then the turkeys would leave forever. Turkey Girl was having a wonderful time, but the girl waits too long to return. When Turkey Girl arrives to the turkey pen, the turkeys left as promised. The beautiful clothes and jewelry disappeared and Turkey Girl becomes lonely. I rated this book as a four. The reason why Pollack selected this story was to show the difference between a Native American Cinderella and a traditional European Cinderella. The meanings are similar; however, the situation and living conditions vary. The story shows different cultures and ethnicity. Instead of traditional mice, Pollack uses turkeys to assist the girl. The illustrations are not clearly drawn. The pictures look like chalk drawings with a blurred image. There is no particular color scheme. Some pictures are recognizable, while other picture are too blurred and washed out. I believe the illustrator created the artwork like this for a child’s imagination to develop the scene themselves. The illustrations consume the whole page and the text is located within the pictures. Due to the color changes, the text color differs from white to black. The seasons are not recognizable. Day and night time are illustrated. The “Author’s Note” provides a brief personal history to understand the reason why Pollock wrote The Turkey Girl. Overall, The Turkey Girl is an enchanting book to read. The story is well written and the lesson is clear. The lesson is to treasure what a person acquires in life no matter what obstacles are placed in the path or a price will be paid. In the European version of Cinderella, Cinderella marries the prince; however in The Turkey Girl, the girl lost both, the clothes and the turkeys. Unfortunately, the Native American version of The Turkey Girl is realistic.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steve Ongley

    Zuni Cinderella Story Cultural Lit Fantasy Prose

  26. 4 out of 5

    Paige Cedergreen

    I liked this variation of Cinderella a lot. It has the general elements of Cinderella, such as the poor girl who receives help from someone to attend a dance or specific event and must return by midnight or after a specific amount of time has passed. This variation strays farther from the original story than most other variations do because the fairy-godmother or helper is a flock of turkeys. I would read aloud this book during a fairy tale unit.I think that this can segway into the conversation I liked this variation of Cinderella a lot. It has the general elements of Cinderella, such as the poor girl who receives help from someone to attend a dance or specific event and must return by midnight or after a specific amount of time has passed. This variation strays farther from the original story than most other variations do because the fairy-godmother or helper is a flock of turkeys. I would read aloud this book during a fairy tale unit.I think that this can segway into the conversation on versions/variants and show the students that a variant can keep the main elements of the original story but provide a new way of looking at it or include something that may enhance the overall plot. I think this book is ideal for 1st and 2nd grade where they are beginning to learn about different genres of books and the literary elements we might use in order to help categorize these books. I would not start my fairy tale unit with this book but I may use it after reading the original version of Cinderella. Then, I would have students compare and contrast so that they gain experience and knowledge of categorizing these books for themselves and can utilize this skill when choosing future books. I would recommend this as an independent read for 1st grade specifically to those who liked the original story of Cinderella and who enjoy fairytales. I would use this book to teach vocabulary or syntax because it has a challenging vocabulary for this age group and varying syntax. When using this book in lessons, I would ask about the words students did not understand and help them come up with synonyms of the word that could be helpful in figuring out the definition. I would show examples of the syntax in the book and ask why a writer would use different types of sentences and sentence length.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Upon rereading this book I find the moral of the story incredibly harsh and wonder if this is a reflection of how difficult life was for the Zuni people. The "young girl" who is the Cinderella character in this story, has faithfully watched over her flock or turkeys for an indeterminate amount of time. She is always kind to them, talking to them throughout the day, and bidding them goodnight each evening. While her kindness is rewarded by the turkeys who provide her with clothing to attend the d Upon rereading this book I find the moral of the story incredibly harsh and wonder if this is a reflection of how difficult life was for the Zuni people. The "young girl" who is the Cinderella character in this story, has faithfully watched over her flock or turkeys for an indeterminate amount of time. She is always kind to them, talking to them throughout the day, and bidding them goodnight each evening. While her kindness is rewarded by the turkeys who provide her with clothing to attend the dance, it seems harsh indeed that just because she does not return to the turkeys by a certain time, she looses not only her beautiful clothes, but the turkeys themselves, her only friends. The story does say the young girl once thought that she need not return to them since they are only birds, but she quickly berates herself for her selfishness and returns. However, it is after the appointed time, and the poor girl does not receive a second chance. It is not the unhappy ending that I rebel against, but at the harsh consequences that result from a momentary bad decision. True that in life this is sometimes the case, but more often than not mistakes can be rectified and life gives us a second (and third and fourth, etc.) chance. I would be very interested in researching the origins of this tale and if the Zuni people have any other Cinderella tellings. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ November 14, 2008 It was interesting to see my students reactions to a book without a happy ending. Surprisingly, most of them gave still gave it a "thumbs up". The illustrations weren't my favorite Ed Young watercolors though... I preferred the illustrations in Lon Po Po.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kimberlyn

    Title: The Turkey Girl Author: Penny Pollock Illustrator: Ed Young Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Pub. Date: 1996 Genre: Legend Picture Book Grades: 1-6 This story is a Zuni Cinderella story. It is about a young maiden, who takes care of turkeys. When the Dance of the Sacred Bird comes, she feels that she cannot attend because of her raggy clothes. The turkeys magically help her get ready for the dance. The turkeys do not want to be forgotten, so the young maiden promises to return before the sun Title: The Turkey Girl Author: Penny Pollock Illustrator: Ed Young Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Pub. Date: 1996 Genre: Legend Picture Book Grades: 1-6 This story is a Zuni Cinderella story. It is about a young maiden, who takes care of turkeys. When the Dance of the Sacred Bird comes, she feels that she cannot attend because of her raggy clothes. The turkeys magically help her get ready for the dance. The turkeys do not want to be forgotten, so the young maiden promises to return before the sun sets. If she does not return in time, the turkeys will leave her forever and she would return to what she was before. Unfortunately, she does not return in time. Her clothes return to rags and the turkeys are gone. This story shares the legend of why turkeys live apart from humans. Activities: 1. The students will get into groups and discuss a different ending for the story. Will she return in time? Will she meet the young brave again? 2. Make a Venn Diagram comparing this Cinderella story to the Walt Disney's Cinderella.

  29. 4 out of 5

    eRin

    The Turkey Girl is a poor orphan who is shunned from the community and keeps watch over the turkeys that belong to the wealthy members of her community. She is lonely, but used to her life and when the Dance of the Sacred Bird is announced, the Turkey Girl accepts that she will not attend with the others. But a surprise comes her way when the turkeys begin to talk to her and explain that because she has been so kind to them, they will help her go to the dance. All they ask is that she return bef The Turkey Girl is a poor orphan who is shunned from the community and keeps watch over the turkeys that belong to the wealthy members of her community. She is lonely, but used to her life and when the Dance of the Sacred Bird is announced, the Turkey Girl accepts that she will not attend with the others. But a surprise comes her way when the turkeys begin to talk to her and explain that because she has been so kind to them, they will help her go to the dance. All they ask is that she return before the Sun-Father disappears. Will she honor the promise she makes to the turkeys? Similar to the European version of the story, but very different at the same time. As the author puts it, "the various Native American versions end with the hard truth that when we break our trust with Mother Earth, we pay a price." Lovely illustrations and a lovely story. Definitely recommended.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    A Cinderella story in which the main character is a young girl who tends turkeys and is known in her village as the Turkey Girl. She longs to go to the big dance, but the likelihood of that seems impossible as she counts only rags and simple shoes among her possessions. One day, one of the turkeys peaks to her and offers her help in realizing her dream. The turkeys gather around her and magically transform her rags into fine clothes and reveal her beauty beneath all the dirt and grime of her dail A Cinderella story in which the main character is a young girl who tends turkeys and is known in her village as the Turkey Girl. She longs to go to the big dance, but the likelihood of that seems impossible as she counts only rags and simple shoes among her possessions. One day, one of the turkeys peaks to her and offers her help in realizing her dream. The turkeys gather around her and magically transform her rags into fine clothes and reveal her beauty beneath all the dirt and grime of her daily chores. The turkeys gift her with these fineries and this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity only if she will promise to return to them before the sun sets behind the mountain. Though the Turkey Girl promises to return before sunset it is a promise that she does not keep, which is why turkeys live apart from humans to this day. Illustrations were rendered using oil crayons and pastel.

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