From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-After her father dies, Shiraz is treated as a servant by her stepmother and stepsister. One day, a ball of yarn blows off the balcony and into a neighbor's yard so she goes to retrieve it. An old woman demands that she perform three chores before she can have her yarn back. The first job is to smash everything in the filthy kitchen. The second task is to cut down the overgrown plants in the garden and leave nothing growing. And, finally, Shiraz is told to cut off the woman's long gray hair. Instead, she cleans the kitchen, prunes the garden, and washes and braids the woman's hair. Her yarn is returned and she is told to dip herself three times in a clear pool and three times in a dark pool before leaving. When Shiraz returns home, neither her stepmother nor stepsister recognize her as she has "turned into such a beauty." The stepmother decides her daughter should go through the same routine. When spoiled and impatient Monir arrives at the old woman's home, Monir does exactly what she is told: she smashes, demolishes, and cuts. She stays longer in the pools, rationalizing she'll be more beautiful than Shiraz. Instead, she is mistaken for a "beggar" and, at first, rejected by her mother. Using the bright colors of Middle Eastern markets, the artist's richly hued illustrations vary in size from page to page, but the girls' appearances do not change significantly before and after their visits and therefore diminish their power.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.