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Like many good fables, this story opens with a foundling left – rather inconveniently, if not surprisingly – in the woods. A large lizard, ever conscious of tripping hazards, picks up the infant and takes her home, where she soon grows into a pretty, pampered, and generally useless young woman named Isabella. Despite her adoptive mother’s efforts (for the lizard is really a witch in disguise) to shape her up, the girl prefers the alluring life offered her by the charming Prince Rupert, a world of cooks and servants, palaces and jewels, luxury and indolence. Luckily, the lizard woman is a canny, concerned parent. She does not suffer fools lightly and is not about to let her daughter’s too-easy transition to palace life go unchallenged. And so she arranges a surprise transformation for her daughter – one that puts the prince’s marital plans on hold and gives the witch just enough time to hammer home a few lessons about the downside of idleness, the inanity of vanity, and the satisfactions of self-reliance. In this witty, modern interpretation of a classic Italian folktale, Leah Marinsky Sharpe has crafted a light-hearted mother-daughter fable with a moral that is sure to strike a chord with readers of all ages. The illustrations by Jane Marinsky glow with rich color and playful humor. Together, words and pictures provide a zesty treat for parents and children alike.

David R. Godine, Publisher