Review posted March 27, 2011.
Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2010. 278 pages.
Toads and Diamonds is a beautiful twist on the Charles Perrault fairy tale, with the story set in India.
As in the fairy tale, one stepsister has precious gems and flowers fall out of her mouth whenever she talks, and the other has snakes and toads come out of her mouth. However, in this book, the stepsisters love each other dearly, and it's not so clear which is the gift and which is the curse.
And both girls must leave their beloved home. They each have a long journey ahead of them to learn their destiny.
This book is full of beautiful writing and an intriguing story. Both girls have adventures and learn about themselves before they are reunited again. The Indian setting makes this quite different from most fairy tale retellings. You can't help but like both sisters and hope that they both overcome the challenges they're faced with.