Friday, January 7, 2011

Toads & Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson

Diribani receives a gift from a goddess. When she speaks, flowers and jewel flow from her mouth. Her stepsister Tana also receives a gift. When she speaks, toads and snakes come forth. Appearances are deceiving. Diribani's gift isn't as blessed as it seems just as Tana's gift isn't as cursed as it appears. Separated by their gifts, the sisters each have different paths to follow. But where will they lead--blessings or curses?

What I thought: You know me. I can't resist a fairy tale retelling (and lucky for me, they seem to be quite popular). I liked Toads & Diamonds. The setting (pre-colonial India) was unique and added many interesting details to the story. The Grimm Brothers have always been my go-to fairy tale guys, but I couldn't place this story. It seemed familiar (this I later realized was from reading The Fairy's Mistake by Gail Carson Levine) and I read the Grimm Version ("Mother Holle"). What struck me most was the sisters' relationship. l like how Tomlinson gave the sisters a friendly, sisterly relationship instead of the usual stepsister one. I found myself drawn more to Tana than Diribani. Perhaps because she struggled more. I'll definitely be adding Tomlinson's other books to my "to read" list.

(Henry Holt, 2010)

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