The latest issue of School Library Journal includes a terrific review for Heather Tomlinson's Toads and Diamonds that we were happy to read when it was sent to us in advance of the issue's release, last month. We are even happier now that the magazine is out, because there's a happy little star next to it, which we somehow hadn't heard about! Here's the review:
This is an impressive reimagining of Perrault’s classic tale, set in precolonial India. Stepsisters Diribani and Tana are on the edge of poverty when they are blessed and cursed by the goddess Naghali-ji. Diribani, the beautiful and polite one, speaks flowers and jewels every time a sound is uttered from her perfect lips, while Tana, often rude, speaks toads and snakes. Soon Diribani is taken in by a handsome prince who seeks to protect her from those who would use her gift for ill. Tana’s fate is not so comfortable, as she is forced out of the village before she is caught by the authorities. Tomlinson creates a rich story with opulent visuals that make the teens’ world come to life. Readers can feel the hard jewels in Diribani’s mouth, and taste the dirt and dust as Tana flees. Best of all, Tomlinson creates a truly remarkable bond between the girls, obliterating the trite stepsister stereotype. The text may be challenging at times, but this extraordinary entry in the retellings genre is definitely worth its weight in diamonds. Fans of Shannon Hale and Robin McKinley will eat it up.—Lisa Marie Williams, East Gwillimbury Public Library, Holland
Thanks so much, Lisa Marie Williams, and congratulations, Heather!