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In the title story of two-time Pushcart Prize winner Bender's new collection, an apprentice learns from a master color artist how to mix naturally pigmented particles to create a pair of shoes that look like rocks or a gown that resembles the moon, sun, or sky. This is not a simple formula. The apprentice can only attain mastery when she allows her own emotions and experience to inform her art. Bender herself has absorbed this lesson. In another story, we root for the ogre's homely wife just as we bond with the oddball teenager whose "friends" ditch her at the mall. These plucky characters hold their own against the world with humor and grace. Verdict Stories that blend elements of folklore and legend with contemporary domestic situations engage us from the start, without straining credibility because they are told so well. The voice is assured, and the (often comic) timing impeccable. Readers of Bender's previous work (Willful Creatures; The Girl in the Flammable Skirt) will welcome this new book, and first-time readers will discover a writer who is well worth getting to know. [See Prepub Alert, 3/25/13.]-Sue Russell, Bryn Mawr, PA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.