Reviews for Turkey Girl : A Zuni Cinderella


Horn Book Guide Reviews 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. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

----------------------
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1996 #3
Illustrated by Ed Young. The wealthy families living in the pueblo village of Matsaki care so little for the young orphaned turkey herder that they call her Turkey Girl and pay her only with corn and cast-off clothing. Turkey Girl longs to attend the Dance of the Sacred Bird to be held in Hawikuh, but she knows that in her rags she could never take part in the festival. She cries as she tends to her work, dreaming of the dance, and is amazed when a huge turkey steps forward to offer the flock's help. The turkeys, the Old One explains, "belong to an ancient race . . . and have many secrets our tall brothers do not know." Turkey Girl submits to the turkeys' intervention and finds herself clean and elegantly dressed in white doeskin decorated with shells and cloth. She excitedly sets off for Hawikuh, agreeing to return to the turkeys before the end of the day. Caught up in the festivities, Turkey Girl arrives home too late, breaking her promise. The turkeys have gone, and "from that day unto this, turkeys have lived apart from their tall brothers, for the Turkey Girl kept not her word. Thus shortens my story." This unusual version with its rather abrupt ending provides an interesting contrast to European versions of the Cinderella story. In an introductory note, the author provides source and background information and 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." The stark desert environment of the Pueblo Indians is reflected in moody, textured pastel and oil-crayon illustrations. The colors evoke the Southwest desert; open spacing and broad forms suggest its isolation. m.b.s. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

----------------------
Kirkus Reviews 1996 February
~ 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. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 1996 April #5
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.) Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information.

----------------------
School Library Journal Reviews 1996 May
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 Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

----------------------