Isabeau is a young maiden much sought after for her beauty, kindness and innocence. Few know that Isabeau, who always wears the gentle colors of a dove, has a feisty spirit that she keeps hidden from most of the world. When Isabeau's mother dies and her father remarries a deceitful witch everything in her world turns upside down. The new stepmother is insanely jealous of Isabeau and bides her time until she can exact her revenge on the hapless young girl. I really don't want to reveal much more because part of the charm of this story are all the little surprises around each corner.
Jane Yolen is really a marvel of an author. When she's good, she's really good. And this is one of her really good ones. Her prose here is a delight to read aloud. The story is at once familiar and archetypal, but also unique and surprising. The water color illustrations by Dennis Nolan are lovely and evocative. Highly recommended for more advanced picture book readers - upper elementary and beyond.