From School Library Journal
YA. Botkin was the youngest son of the personal physician to Nicholas II. His father secretly carried these stories about the adventures of Mishka Toptiginsky, a 12-year-old bear, written and illustrated by 17-year-old Gleb, to amuse the royal children held in captivity during the Russian Revolution. The book includes a foreword, a biographical sketch of the author-artist, photographs, and a summary of the three stories. The latter is useful as the text is dense. The pictures are the most captivating part of the presentation. They are wonderfully detailed and realistic and show the military and political exploits of the boy/bear leader in his effort to restore an imprisoned monarch to his throne. The similarities to actual conditions in Russia are strong. All of the bears, monkeys, pigs, and other animals are splendidly garbed in military costume drawn with sharp precision. The monkey officers are particularly well executed with exaggerated features and satirical expressions. The civilian scenes are equally engaging. The backgrounds to all such scenes are richly detailed with 1900-styled paraphernalia. A fascinating look at the period and at the work of a talented young artist.?Frances Reiher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
Created for Tsar Nicholas's children in 1918, when they were held captive in Siberia, Botkin's poignant tales are by turns allegorical and political. Smuggled out of the Soviet Union in 1919, the beautifully illustrated tales are being published here for the first time. Foreword by acclaimed Romanov biographer Robert K. Massie. 50 color illustrations.