by An Leysen
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Pub Date 13 Sep 2016 | Archive Date 28 Nov 2016
Clavis Books, Clavis
Baba Yaga, the witch from Slavonic mythology is coming alive in this fairy tale. An Leysen draws you into an imaginative story about a wicked witch and a sweet and brave little girl. For children ages 5 and up.
Once upon a time, in a land far away from here, lived a girl named Olga. Olga lived with her father in a beautiful house, and they were very happy together. Until Olga’s father, one day fell in love again … His new wife was cruel and mean. And her sister Baba Yaga, who lived in a dark forest, was even meaner. Baba Yaga was a witch! It was said that she was fond of children … for dinner! One day Olga’s stepmother sent her to Baba Yaga. What was she supposed to do now?
“The illustrations are absolutely fabulous and the book is worth reading just for those alone.” - Yellowstone Library
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 57 members
Charming Illustrations and a Story That’s Suitable for Kids
A long time ago, in a land far away, lived a young girl named Olga. Ever since her mother passed away, it’d just been Olga and her father. But he filled her days with games and stories, and they always had food to eat and a place to sleep; things were generally pretty good. That is, until dad remarried.
Olga’s stepmother wasn’t just evil; she was a straight-up witch. Or the sister of one, anyway. Olga’s stepmother fed her scraps and made her do all the chores, all by herself. But Olga never complained, which caused her stepmother to hate her even more. One day, she sent Olga to her sister’s house to fetch a needle and some thread. What might otherwise be a mundane chore was actually a suicide mission: for Olga’s step-aunt was none other than the storied Baba Yaga, child-meat connoisseur. Luckily, Olga didn’t go into battle unarmed: she had a magical doll, gifted her by her late mother, to help guide the way.
I’m not super-familiar with the Baba Yaga fairy tale but, from my limited knowledge, An Leysen’s version seems pretty faithful. All the staples are present and accounted for: a flying cauldron (mortar) steered by a broomstick (pestle); a house that sits on chicken legs; multiple witchy sisters (possibly all named Baba Yaga; we never do learn stepmom’s real name); and the ever-present threat of child cannibalism. Despite these more maudlin plot points, the story is rather tame and suitable for children.
In fact, Baba Yaga looks more like a kindly old grandmother – a babushka or nonna, perhaps – than a mean old witch.
The artwork is really quite charming, with a textured feeling that resembles oil paints on canvas.
The colors are rich and vibrant, except when they’re not: some pages are much more muted and somber than others, which makes for a rather interesting contrast. Sometimes a single object is imbued with color, as if to draw attention to its import. Likewise, there are variations in the size and style of the text as well, to emphasize tone and volume.
Olga is adorable as all get-out – but my eye was really drawn to the stepmother who, with her purple, upswept hair and seemingly painted-on mole, bears an uncanny resemblance to Marie Antoinette.
Between Baba Yaga’s slighted maid, cat, and dog, the story imparts a simple yet important message: always treat others the way you yourself wish to be treated, lest it come back and bite you in the … stomach.
Also, don’t eat children.
** Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. **
What a wonderful children's book! The illustrations are gorgeous and really seem to pop. I love the artist's style. The big expressive eyes really draw you in and convey emotions beautifully. The story was very engaging and the main character stays strong and manages to get to her happy ending... and without resorting to any violence as happens in many older tales. It was just scary enough without going too far for little ones. I highly recommend this book for a wonderful storytime!
Overall a very nice story. A play on some very familiar storybook themes (one version of Hansel and Gretel has them escaping with a comb and mirror; Cinderella/Snow White with the evil stepmother; Little Red Riding Hood with going to visit a relative; Baba Yaga, the Russian witch who lives in a house with chicken legs). This book has Olga, an orphan whose father has remarried, being sent to her stepmother's sister to ostensibly borrow some needle and thread. However, the real plan is for Baba Yaga to eat Olga. Luckily, because Olga is kind, she has some help in escaping.
Though translated from the original Dutch, this is, in the main, a very nice book.
The illustrations are are absolutely fabulous and the book is worth reading just for those alone.
This book comes out September 13
>> Post goes live September 9, will also post to Pinterest that day
My first impression of this book is how absolutely beautiful it is. The illustrations, font choice, placement on the page, use of space, etc., are perfect. The story itself is also superb, and will be filed away in children's minds. I am very much looking forward to using this in a storytime setting.
Overall, it is a beautiful retelling of a classic Slavic folktale; highly recommended for read alouds, one-on-one storytime, and independent reading.
Wonderful story and gorgeous illustrations! I really enjoyed reading Olga's story!
Where do I even begin with this little gem. All fairytales as we know them originated in mythology and stories handed down through generations. Baba Yaga is born of Slavic mythology.
As you begin to read, Cinderella registers. This is followed closely by Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel. All of these elements wind together with the most beautiful illustrations to provide a story worthy of any Disney film (because we all know Disney loves this stuff).
A wonderful little read I wouldn't hesitate to buy for children I know.
Baba Yaga is a picturebook that was written and illustrated by An Leysen. Once upon a time, in a land far away from here, lived a girl named Olga. Olga lived with her father in a beautiful house, and they were very happy together. Until Olga’s father one day fell in love again but his new wife was cruel and mean. And her sister Baba Yaga, who lived in a dark forest, was even meaner. Baba Yaga was a real witch! There was a rumor she was fond of children on her plate! One day Olga’s stepmother sent her to Baba Yaga. What was she supposed to do now?
Baba Yaga is a retelling of the classic Slavonic myth. Olga is a sweet girl put in a bad situation, a common start to fairy tales world wide. I have heard different tales about Baba Yaga over the years, and I found this version to be simple enough to share with younger readers than most of the versions I have read. The illustrations are lovely and add a great deal to the atmosphere of the story, and included details that enrich the story. This would be a wonderful addition to a classroom unit of fairytales and legends, or just for sharing. It is a little text heavy, which is necessary to tell the story, so I would label this an older picturebook or one to share.
Baba Yaga is a wonderful version of this classic tale. I think the illustrations are what really sold it to me, with their soft ethereal feel. A delightful book for sharing a fairy tale that some might not be familiar with.
In the Slavic folklore of historic Russia, Baba Yaga is a deformed, hideous witch who performs evil deeds. An Leysen introduces a new generation of children to this classic tale in her book, "Baba Yaga." Similar to Cinderella, little, pretty Olga is made to work day and night for an evil stepmother. The stepmother seems to have cast a spell over Olga's loving father, because he does not notice the abuse. In a fit of rage, the stepmother sends Olga to her evil sister, Baba Yaga, hoping that Olga will never come back. Olga, however, is saved from being the witch's dinner by the cleverness of her little wooden doll. Leysen captures the good and evil of the story perfectly. I loved the book's charming, beautiful illustrations which brought the characters and the story to life. This book belongs in every library, next to other classic fairytales and folktales. Five stars.
An astounding recreation with a touch of modernity given to a classic Russian folklore, this book is absolutely breathtaking! Having read some lovely Russian myth-tales as a kid I`m always on the hunt for some good new publications for my kids, but rarely find anything fresh.And this one is one of those ; a simplified version without twists written in clear prose and rhyme. Its anime inspired and beautiful, soft pastel shaded illustrations may make you pause at every page turn.
An`s elegant introductory verses together with her grayish sketches of Baba Yaga in her flying cauldron creates the perfect ambiance for a hair-raising journey into the dark forest of Baba Yaga.
" Baba Yaga is an ugly old witch / She has a rusty witches cauldron / That flies by itself...........Stranger still is her house / all crooked and bent / It runs around on chicken legs!!........Baba Yaga`s face is covered with warts / and she likes nasty old toads / ..........and in her mouth / she has just two teeth/ rotten but razor sharp / and you should know this / they say that she uses them..../ to eat naughty children!! "
Larger-than-life images of innocent little Olga holding her magic doll will capture the reader`s hearts easily.
Compelling as ever with a walking house on chicken legs, a scary cat and a dog and a talking doll, all dosed with some fear, love and magic. Kids will return to this-one again and again!!
This children’s story is a retelling of the original Russian fairy tale of the Baba Yaga.
After her mother dies Olga and her father lived happily together. Then, Olga’s father is bewitched and marries the cruel sister of the evil witch Baba Yaga. When this woman, who is Olga’s stepmother, sends her to Baba Yaga, Olga must outsmart the witch (with a doll given to her by her mom) to avoid being devoured.
This was a beautiful retelling of the original story. The original folktale as I knew it was a little different and much much scarier. But this was written appropriately for children ages 5+. It had a few frightening elements, such as the witch preparing to devour her niece, but nothing that I think would be too much to handle. And as with most fairytales, it has a happy ending.
In addition, this story teaches good lessons such as kindness and helping those in need. It would also be a good introduction for children to learn about different countries and cultures.
The only issue I had with this story was with the dialogue and flow. It seemed clunky and stilted to me. But perhaps that was because this story was translated or because this isn’t the final copy.
Lastly, can we talk about these illustrations? Because holy crap they were gorgeous. I have to give major props on these. They were so…magical? Beautiful? Fantastical? All of the above! Really though, there are no words for how wonderful they were. They brought the story to life. The ebook form of this does not do justice.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me this copy in exchange for an honest review.
Ages 5 & Up. Young Olga and her father live a happy life together. That happiness comes to a halt when Olga's father falls in love with a cruel woman. He is so blinded by love that he cannot see how his new wife mistreats Olga. One day the evil stepmother sends Olga to her sister's house to fetch needle and thread. Unfortunately, Olga's new aunt is Baby Yaga, a witch who is rumored to eat children. Are the rumors true? If so, how is Olga going to make it through this trip alive?
The illustrations are gorgeous and well-composed. Like many fairy tales, the overall tone is somewhat dark and unsettling. However, good prevails over evil! This story shows the power of kindness. It's a beautifully written story that's perfect for a rainy day.
A superbly illustrated fairy tale about Olga, her father, Olga's evil (of course) stepmother and Baba Yaga, her stepmother's (even more evil) sister. Baba Yaga is a witch who treats her maid and animals cruelly, and in true fairytale tradition, Olga's kindness and generosity wins out. Beautifully done.
Baba Yaga is a Dutch fairytale. Olga is a little girl who's mother died and she and her father live happily together. When he falls in love with the sister of Baba Yaga (a witch who loves to eat children) he is under her spell. She treats Olga terribly and wants to be rid of her. She sends her to see Baba Yaga, supposedly to get a needle and some thread. The little doll that Olga's mother made her before she died tells her to bring certain things with her. Off she goes and uses the things that she brought to help her once she arrives at Baba Yaga's cottage. As in most fairytales, there is a happy ending.
The illustrations in this book are wonderful. They make the story seem magical and Olga is such a beautiful little girl. A great book when studying fairytales, especially if looking at ones from various cultures and lands. I would recommend this book to public, school and class libraries.
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