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The Wall Street Journal review by Meghan Cox Gurdon says:

"Once upon a time, long ago and far away, a baby was left in the forest," begins "The Goat-Faced Girl," a witty and richly illustrated retelling of an old Italian tale that will probably be new to most young American readers. "This event wasn't so strange in itself," author Leah Marinsky Sharpe continues drolly, "for lost children appeared in this particular forest every third Thursday."

See the complete review here:


Publishers Weekly gives The Goat-Faced Girl a starred review:

*The Goat-Faced Girl: A Classic Italian Folktale Retold by Leah Marinsky Sharpe, illus. by Jane Marinsky. Godine, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56792-393-3
Rich storytelling and intricately imagined artwork make this debut a standout. Raised by a lizard (how's that for a promising opening?), Isabella is lovely but lazy, and her lizard/sorceress mother gives her the head of a goat when she becomes engaged to Prince Rupert. Repulsed, Rupert gives Isabella three sham tasks to get her out of the way. Her trials give her the resourcefulness she's lacked and the moxie to boot Rupert out when he confesses that her goat head turns him off. Sharpe's retelling maintains a smart, modern tone throughout (as a swaddled foundling in the forest, Isabella becomes “a tripping hazard”), while fairy tale references add spice: “[I]n one kingdom nearby, they made the girls sleep on peas. In another, the girls had to attend balls in glass slippers.” Marinsky's paintings, in the chalky, sun-bleached colors of the Italian renaissance, contain many small pleasures: the woods and flowers of medieval tapestries, the goat-headed princess licking cupcake batter off her goat nose, and a portrait of the shallow prince's just fate. A must for anyone who would rather be a sorceress than a princess. Ages 6–up. (Dec.)

See it here.


School Library Journal gives The Goat-Faced Girl a starred review:

*SHARPE, Leah Marinsky, retel. The Goat-Faced Girl: A Classic Italian Folktale. illus. by Jane Marinsky. unpaged. CIP. Godine. 2009. Tr $16.95. ISBN 978-1-56792-393-3. LC 2009022383.
Gr 2–4—This story is based on an Italian folktale by the same name, which can be found in Andrew Lang's The Grey Fairy Book (Kessinger, 2004). In a forest where foundlings appear every third Thursday, a large lizard discovers a baby girl. Transforming herself into a beautiful woman in a hooded garment with the same markings as her lizard skin, she raises the child as her own. Isabella grows into a very beautiful, very lazy young woman and falls in love with equally lazy Prince Rupert. Knowing that such a marriage will be disastrous, the lizard-lady gives her daughter the head of a goat. Stunned at the sight of her, Prince Rupert invents three tasks to postpone their marriage. She must grow turnips, prepare a feast worthy of royalty, and make herself a gorgeous gown. Working hard at each task, she regains her former beauty and realizes that the lazy prince has only valued her appearance. She ditches him, learns a little sorcery from her mother, and gives him a chicken head under his crown. Laziness replaces ingratitude, and self-reliance becomes a virtue. Full-color paintings done in rich hues capture a long-ago-and-far-away ambiance that melds nicely with more modern sensibilities. This tale is a pleasure to read, and the illustrations are an absolute delight.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN

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The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books:

“Sharpe has a wonderful voice, vivacious and witty, and the retelling is inviting and entertaining. Occasional contemporary splashes (Isabella survives on peanut-butter sandwiches and her mother consults child-rearing books) add humor while references to classic fairy tales (Isabella is certain there will only be three tasks, since these things always comes in threes) slyly references the story’s own genre. Marinsky’s illustrations, rich full-bleed scenes and intensely colored vignettes, have some of the slightly skewed contemporary perspectives of Giselle Potter’s work but also the dense luster of tapestry; shading and shadows provide definition to facial compositions while abundant deep crimsons, gold, and greens capture the bucolic period setting.”

Foreword Magazine:

"The cast of characters in this reinterpretation of an Italian folktale includes a lizard and witch, deserted baby, and a lovely, lazy girl troubled by a bout of goathead-itis. Not to mention a finicky prince who is shocked to discover a faun-like face on his girlfriend’s body. The story is rich with subtle reminders to be self-reliant, productive, authentic, and watchful of the motivations of others. Marinsky’s rich, renaissance-inspired artwork captures just the right imagery."

Jean Westmoore of the Buffalo News begins:

"A baby left in the forest, a shape-shifting sorceress, a lovestruck prince —the familiar fairy-tale ingredients are there, starting with 'Once Upon a Time.'"

Read the rest of the story here.


Kirkus Reviews writes:

Sharpe, Leah Marinsky–Adapt.
THE GOAT-FACED GIRL: A Classic Italian Folktale
Illus. by Jane Marinsky

Though Marinsky dresses the cast in traditional fairy-tale hose and flowing gowns, there’s a distinctly modern cast to this arch rendition of an old tale. When a beautiful but indolent young woman named Isabella accepts the proposal of equally lazy Prince Rupert, the doting sorceress who raised her in luxury, deciding that she needs to mend her ways first, endows her with a goat’s head. The horrified prince tries to fob her off by assigning tasks like preparing a royal feast alone and creating her own luxurious gown—for which the sorceress provides cookbooks, pots and other tools. Eventually Isabella grows fond of doing for herself, regains her human topper and sends Rupert packing when he frankly admits that he only cared about her looks: “You mean to tell me … [y]ou only care about how I look? Not who I am?” Sharpe has made changes in theme (that goat’s head was originally punishment for being ungrateful) and language, but this version, the story’s first separate appearance in this country, will make a popular gift from parents and caregivers afflicted with similarly slothful younglings. (Picture book/folktale. 8-11)

The Ft. Worth-Star Telegram:

The Goat-Faced Girl
By Leah Marinsky Sharpe; illustrated by Jane Marinsky
David R. Godine, $16.95
This classic Italian folktale is given a modern edge with a retelling by Leah Marinsky Sharpe. It’s a funny tale about a lazy daughter of a sorceress who is wooed by an equally lazy prince. But the sorceress doesn’t want her daughter to lead a life of indolence. She casts a spell that gives her daughter a goat head. The prince, eager to get rid of the now unattractive young woman, puts her in a cabin in the woods and devises a bunch of tests she must pass. Of course, in the course of jumping through the hoops, she learns that it’s much more fun to be productive and creative. The book ends with a refreshing, girl-empowerment message. This is Sharpe’s first book, and it’s delightfully well-told. The illustrations, by her mother, are beautifully imaginative.
— Catherine Mallette

See it here.


Two Hippos Blog writes:

To see how the lizard mother helps transform Isabella into more than a lazy young woman attracted to an equally lazy Prince Rupert, read the book! Leah first told and refined this tale while babysitting, and its sophisticated yet clear prose shows the strength of time-tested modern story-telling. Accompanied by rich illustrations, The Goat-Faced Girl is a visual and linguistic treat. Jane Marinsky's illustrations are vivid and detailed, offering much to delight in, linger over, and savor.

See the whole review here.

SurLaLune Review here.

Abigail's Review here.