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Babushka Baba Yaga Paperback – Jan 25 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (Jan. 25 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069811633X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698116337
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 0.3 x 25.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #349,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This "direct yet resonant" retelling of a Russian folktale has "sumptuous colors, a rich melange of patterns and textures?and even a sprinkling of forest fairies," said PW. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Wishing to be like the people she watches from the woods, Baba Yaga dresses herself in human clothing and covers her elfin ears with a scarf. Resembling any other grandmother or babushka, she is welcomed into the home of a young mother and quickly assumes the care of a child named Victor. She grows to love the boy, but when the other old women tell terrifying stories of the witch Baba Yaga, she returns to the woods with a heavy heart. Missing her, Victor wanders into the woods and is threatened by ferocious wolves. Coming to his rescue, Baba Yaga is finally accepted by the babushkas who realize that, "Those who judge one another on what they hear or see, and not what they know of them in their hearts, are fools indeed!" Polacco's reassuring text is accompanied by her full-page illustrations drawn in a casual, relaxed style in a variety of mediums: markers, charcoal pencil, chalk pastel, and gouache. The underlying message of tolerance is well presented, and the author does an admirable job of melding the two contrasting grandmother images from Russian culture. While her depiction of the misunderstood creature may surprise serious students of folklore, those wanting to share a kinder, gentler Baba Yaga will welcome this picture book.
Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Authors (especially authors of children's books) love reinterpreting old folk and fairy tales. From "The Stinky Cheese Man" to "East", children are constantly being exposed to a wide variety of new ways of reading and interpreting the tales they heard when younger. Patricia Polacco is to be commended for her particularly original reinterpretation. Some of you may be familiar with the classic Baba Yaga stories that came out of Russia. These stories centered on an evil old woman who lived in a house that stood on chicken legs. Usually portrayed as a wicked witch, Baba Yaga ate children and cavorted with the darkest of magics. In "Babushka Baba Yaga", Polacco reclaims a newly misunderstood icon.

Unlike the stories, the Baba Yaga in this tale is the last of her kind. Terribly lonely in her forest home, she spends the days enviously spying on the grandmothers (or "babushkas") of the nearby village. There is nothing Baba Yaga would like more than to care for a little young creature of her own. One day she has the idea of borrowing some babushka clothing and arriving in the village as an old woman. It isn't long before she meets Natasha and her little son Victor. Victor has no babushka of his own, and Baba Yaga offers to take care of the boy, cook, and clean in exhange for a bed and some food. Things go swimmingly for quite a while. Then, one day, Victor and his new babushka overhear a chilling Baba Yaga tale and the boy is greatly scared. Not wanting to cause any trouble, Baba Yaga leaves the happy home with great sorrow. It's only through a miraculous rescue and the villagers' acceptance that things are finally put to rights at the end.

The moral of the story is spoken by one of the village women at the book's finish.
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Format: Hardcover
Patricia Polacco's picture book Babushka Baba Yaga should be nominated for the Randolph Caldecott Medal. By looking at the distinguished illustrations, readers can become involved in the story. The plot, which can easily be understood by children ages four to eight, is interesting and wonderful. Baba Yaga is portrayed as a scary creature that lives in the forest. Although people who live in the village tell horrifying stories of her to children, Baba Yaga is really a kind and lonely individual. Furthermore, she longs to be a grandmother and hold a child in her arms. She disguises herself as a Babushka and becomes the caretaker of the little boy, Victor. Baba Yaga becomes close with the child and the two develop a strong love for one another. Young children can relate to Baba Yaga's experience and even sympathize for her loneliness as an outsider of the village. Consequently, the main conflict of person verses society is revealed in Polacco's book. Through illustrations, this theme is displayed effectively. Baba Yaga is shown from the outside looking in at the people. We get a sense of her desire for a grandchild as her face is drawn with dark gray, green and brown. Her face is sad looking and the use of color helps the reader get a sense of the mood. Polacco states "And so she watched sadly from afar as people of the nearby village celebrated the season of their lives together." Hence, the illustrations accurately correspond with the content of the story. The theme of the story is great and beneficial to children. In addition, the theme ties into the plot, characters, and setting of the book. Children are taught the lesson not to form an opinion of people based on their physical appearance.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful story that my children absolutely love!!! It is a poignant reminder that people can be very cruel to those they deem different, but that there is beauty within each and every person if you look hard enough. My children were able to relate to the characters in the story and speak of Babushka Baba Yaga as though she is a real person. Although the story is set in Russia, the experience does not have any geographic boundaries and can spark many lively day-to-day questions from a young child. The story touches on issues that children need to be reminded of: showing that beauty is only skin deep, being kind to all people, just because you're different doesn't mean it's bad, giving everyone a chance, etc.
Other stories that have had the same effect on my children are Stellaluna, Guess How Much I Love You, The Giving Tree, and more.
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Format: Paperback
I am seriously conflicted about this book. No doubt it is well written and excellently illustrated. My problem is with the basic story and the "revisionism" of Baba Yaga's place in the world which seems indicative of a general trend to root all evil out of children's literature. In my opinion evil and fear are important elements in fairy tales and they prepare children to deal with the real world. Classic (pre-Grimm) fairy tales were incredibly graphic and scary (see Marina Warner's "From the Beast to the Blonde"). Baba Yaga has a definite and clear place in Slavic fairy tales--she is the main "evildoer" who eats children, etc. Let her be that!
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