A prince marries a frog -- it's a long story. It so happens that this croaker princess can outsew, outcook, and outdance the other court princesses, but only when she slips from her skin to become the beautiful Vasilia the Wise (a trick she performs when no one is watching, like Superman). Unfortunately, her husband the prince happens across her frog togs one night while she is in her Vasilia mode and burns the unwanted exterior so that his wife will remain forever radiant, Bad mistake. It turns out that Vasilia had a mere three days left to fulfill a curse her sinister father cast on her, yet now, without her skins, she will never see the prince again unless he can find her in the Kingdom beyond Blue Kingdoms. It is a long, mean search (including the obligatory visit to Baba Yaga; these days you can't throw a brick without hitting Baba Yaga in one form or another). Eventually, the prince succeeds in wresting Vasilia from the evil one. A nice gender twist on an old tale, paced to keep things moving. Spirin's illustrations command attention with detailing worthy of FabergÃ‰ although their fussiness can cause a visual overload. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russian tales have been thick on the ground, some better than others. This one is worth a look.