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What's the story?
Rosella helps the fairy, Ethelinda, disguised as an old woman, get a drink of water from the well, and is rewarded by having jewels tumble from her mouth whenever she speaks. Her selfish sister, Myrtle, is punished with bugs and snakes coming out of her mouth. But Ethelinda's plans backfire when Myrtle uses her affliction to force townspeople to give her whatever she wants, while Rosella is married to a greedy prince who only loves her jewels.
Is it any good?
The author's light sense of humor and deadpan descriptions of absurdities, along with the short length and easy-to-read text, make this a delightful snack rather than a heavy meal. But she never talks down to her audience, which makes this a good choice for young readers, reluctant readers, and reading aloud. This is the first of The Princess Tales, a series of short retellings of fairy tales by the Newbery-honored author of Ella Enchanted.
Some may find the values here a little questionable: Myrtle's outrageous behavior is never punished, bringing success to her and her nasty mother. She even helps Rosella deceive the prince to get him to behave somewhat better, but he still gets to keep half of the jewels Rosella produces, while she gets to give the rest to the poor. But it's all meant in fun, and it's unlikely any young readers will take Myrtle as their role model.