Friday, March 13, 2015
Toads and Diamons by Heather Tomlinson
While Diribani is fetching water from the sacred well, the goddess, Naghali, blesses Diribani with a gift. Whenever Diribani speaks, gems and flowers fall from her lips. Diribani returns home to show her stepsister, Tana, and her stepmother the results of Naghali’s blessing. Tana decides to go to the same well and she also meets Naghali. Like Diribani, Tana is blessed with a gift. But instead of gems and flowers, every time Tana speaks sacred toads and snakes appear from her mouth. Once word gets out about their gifts, the two girls are separated and taken away from home. As time goes by, both girls realize that Naghali’s blessings come with painful consequences.
Tomlinson's book is a beautifully written and heart-warming story based on Charles Perrault’s fairytale "The Fairies." But Tomlinson takes an exotic detour by setting her story and characters in India. Unlike the usual fairytale relationship, the stepsisters love each other, their mother, and their home. After leaving home and the glamour of their gifts sour, the girls mourn the loss of not being together as a family. It seems Naghali did not grant their gifts to necessarily bless the girls’ lives. She gave them those gifts to help the girls see what was really important, family and helping others in need. A lovely young adult read great for ages 12 and up.