In my post last week, I recommended some new books based on fairy tales. Today I want to focus on some older favorites where the definitions of a curse and a blessing may not be the same for everyone. In Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson, two stepsisters in India are blessed and cursed by a goddess. One has flowers and gems flow from her mouth when she speaks. The other has snakes and toads appear. Which is the curse and which is the blessing? It all depends on where you are. I enjoyed the fact that the sisters actually like each other, unlike many fairy tales where stepsisters are set against one another.
In Birdwing by Rafe Martin, the main character Ardwin has a swan’s wing instead of a left arm. When his sister lifted the curse imposed on him and his brothers by their stepmother, he was the only one who didn’t fully transform from a swan back into a man. Is the wing a curse or a blessing? Ardwin embarks on a journey to learn more about himself and what he wants in life. This is a what-happened-next type of story based on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Wild Swans.”