I remember this book in the library when I was little. I’ve searched for it for years, but couldn’t find it for a price I was comfortable with. About a year ago my husband and I came across a copy in a little bookstore for $25 and snatched it up.
Dare Wright was the author and photographer of the “Lonely Doll” series. They’re utterly charming, but for me, “Lona” is her triumph. Publishes in 1963, its dreamy black and white photographs transport you to Once Upon a Time and Princess Lona could have stepped from Cocteau’s La Belle et Le Bete. The story concerns an evil wizard determined to enchant a princess. He finally succeeds in shrinking Lona. And this is where it gets interesting- she goes on an epic quest to save her own land as well as two other kingdoms, with the knowledge that she will eventually have to allow the Wizard to enchant her again and bring a curse down on his own head, destroying him forever. She succeeds, and in the process breaks the spell keeping a Prince in the form of a toad. At the end, she whispers the Wizard’s name three times and feels the enchantment shrinking her to a toad. The wizard is destroyed, and the Prince picks her up and vows to find a way to break the spell. They depart from the kingdoms she saved. Years go by they are seen returning to her kingdom, hand in hand, all spells finally broken.
In case you’re wondering, the full sized Lona is played by Dare Wright herself. And yes, she was very,very beautiful in a 50s way. She’s almost a dead ringer for Disney’s Aurora.