Baba Yaga & the Little Girl

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9781558582873: Baba Yaga & the Little Girl

This Russian folktale is based on a story from the collection compiled by the 19th-century folklorist Akeksandr Afanas'ev and illustrated in a bold, colorful style inspired by Russian ""lubok"" art.

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From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 4-A dazzling picture book, marred by poor design choices. While her husband is away, a conniving stepmother sends her nameless stepdaughter to Baba Yaga's house to fetch a needle and thread. Luckily, this girl visits her wise aunt first and is told how to handle each of the dangers she will encounter. Aided by the animals and inanimate objects under Baba Yaga's power, the child escapes the witch's clutches. Arriving at her own home, she tells her father everything that has happened. In a rage he throws the stepmother out of his house and the two "live happily ever after and were never bothered by Baba Yaga again." This retelling is similar to the Russian folktale often called "Baba Yaga and the Little Girl with the Kind Heart." Arnold assumes readers are already familiar with the hideous hag and leaves out information vital to understanding the plot, such as the fact that she has iron teeth. The illustrations have a vitality that is rare in children's books, but the composition is confusing, and color choices are questionable. The page design ranges from poor to appalling; in one instance, black type is placed against a dark blue background. For text and illustrations that work much more harmoniously, seek out Arnold's earlier Baba Yaga (North-South, 1993).
Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

Ages 5-8. A wicked stepmother sends her stepdaughter to the evil Baba Yaga for a needle and thread. The cruel witch imprisons her (in preparation for cooking and eating), but the girl uses her own cleverness and the gifts and advice of a friendly aunt to escape and return safely to her father. Dramatic, full-color illustrations, in the style of Russian lubok art, highlight this retelling. Arnold's thick black-line drawings resemble woodcuts; the vivid gouache colors give the artwork a fresh, modern look while remaining true to the story's classic roots. Even the endpapers, intended to look like bold patches in a crazy quilt, match the theme and tone of the telling. Based on a tale from the collection of Russian folklorist Afanas'ev, this will make a popular choice for primary story hours, whether told or read aloud. Slightly older readers will enjoy comparing the tale to Hansel and Gretel. Kay Weisman

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Katya Arnold
Published by NorthSouth (1945)
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