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Babushka Baba Yaga (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) School & Library Binding – January 1, 1999


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School & Library Binding, January 1, 1999
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • School & Library Binding: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback (January 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0613112962
  • ISBN-13: 978-0613112963
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 8.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,626,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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.

More About the Author

Born Patricia Ann Barber in Lansing, Michigan, to parents of Russian and Ukrainian descent on one side and Irish on the other, Patricia Polacco grew up in both California and Michigan. Her school year was spent in Oakland, California, and summers in her beloved Michigan. She describes her family members as marvelous storytellers. "My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists.... With each retelling our stories gain a little more Umph!"Studying in the United States and Australia, Patricia Polacco has earned an M.F.A. and a Ph. D. in art history, specializing in Russian and Greek painting, and iconographic history. She is a museum consultant on the restoration of icons. As a participant in many citizen exchange programs for writers and illustrators, Patricia Polacco has traveled extensively in Russia as well as other former Soviet republics. She continues to support programs that encourage Russo-American friendships and understanding. She is also deeply involved in inner-city projects here in the U.S. that promote the peaceful resolution of conflict and encourage art and literacy programs.The mother of a grown son and a daughter, Patricia Polacco currently resides in Michigan, where she has a glorious old farm that was built during the time of Lincoln.

Customer Reviews

Great pictures in this story of Baba Yaga - a well loved fairy tale.
Mary Hunt
I wanted to share with my granddaughter stories that I enjoyed reading as a child.
Helen Nelson
I actually choked up when reading it to my daughter for the first time.
Heidi Dubin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 2, 1999
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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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 23, 1998
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 29, 2004
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.
Read more ›
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Dubin on May 19, 2000
Format: School & Library Binding
This is a superb book. I actually choked up when reading it to my daughter for the first time. It's a wonderful tale, but also contains a wonderful lesson, i.e., don't judge people by what they look like.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
I have been reading these books by Patricia Polacco since I was in the second grade. I can't believe that I actually remembered the author. They are very vivide books. It has now been about ten years since I last saw one of these books and i still rememger what they are about.
One of my favorites is the one about the Rhubarb which made me want to try Rhubarb (Sorry if I didn't spell it right) anyways if you need something to read to your kids these have excellant drawings (I'm an artist just because of these books)
They are wonderful I would recomend these to everyone not just kids.
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