Babushka Baba Yaga by Patricia Polacco

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Synopsis

She was the last of her kind. A creature of legends. A being of the forest. AAnd? stories . . . were told of her - stories of the terrible, horrible Baba Yaga.

In truth, Baba Yaga was kind, and very lonely. And as she watches the babushkas of the village delight in their grandchildren, she longs for a grandchild of her own.

Then she has an idea: She will be a babushka instead of a Baba Yaga. She dresses herself up as a kindly grandmother and enters the village. When she comes across a young woman and her grandmotherless son, they adopt her as their very own babushka, and as the days pass, Baba Yaga and the boy, Victor, grow to love each other very much.

Until one day, Victor hears stories of the horrible, wicked Baba Yaga, and she knows that she must go back to the woods before the child finds out who she really is.

Legend would have Baba Yaga evil and unkind, but in Patricia Polacco's version of this Russian folktale, enlivened by her rich, vibrant art, we are reminded to judge not by rumor and appearance, but by what we know in our own hearts to be true.
 

About Patricia Polacco

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Patricia Polacco was born in Lansing, Michigan on July 11, 1944. She attended Oakland Tech High School in Oakland, California before heading off to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, then Laney Community College in Oakland. She then set off for Monash University, Mulgrave, Australia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia where she received a Ph.D in Art History, Emphasis on Iconography. After college, she restored ancient pieces of art for museums. She didn't start writing children's books until she was 41 years old. She began writing down the stories that were in her head, and was then encouraged to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. There she learned how to put together a dummy and get a story into the form of a children's picture book. Her mother paid for a trip to New York, where the two visited 16 publishers in one week. She submitted everything she had to more than one house. By the time she returned home the following week, she had sold just about everything. Polacco has won the 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award for The Keeping Quilt, and the 1989 International Reading Association Award for Rechenka's Eggs. She was inducted into the Author's Hall of Fame by the Santa Clara Reading Council in 1990, and received the Commonwealth Club of California's Recognition of Excellence that same year for Babushka's Doll, and again in 1992 for Chicken Sunday. She also won the Golden Kite Award for Illustration from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for Chicken Sunday in 1992, as well as the Boston Area Educators for Social Responsibility Children's Literature and Social Responsibility Award. In 1993, she won the Jane Adams Peace Assoc. and Women's Intl. League for Peace and Freedom Honor award for Mrs. Katz and Tush for its effective contribution to peace and social justice. She has won Parent's Choice Honors for Some Birthday in 1991, the video Dream Keeper in 1997 and Thank You Mr. Falker in 1998. In 1996, she won the Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children's Literature.
 
Published September 15, 1993 by Philomel. 32 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Babushka Baba Yaga

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The premise is promising: Baba Yaga, yearning to have grandchildren like the babushkas she espies near her forest home, disguises herself as one of them (covering her tall, pointy ears) and joins the old women chatting in the square.

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Publishers Weekly

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In this vibrantly illustrated cautionary tale, a selfish girl becomes ``quite nice after all'' after learning a valuable lesson from a doll that comes to life.

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Publishers Weekly

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While a couple of the narratives are clunky, children will relish the generally jaunty language and the sound of foreign names and places (``Babushka pulled Diadushka,/ Diadushka pulled the turnip;'' ``Klootchka Plootchka count your little toes;'' ``The Train to Ivanovo.'' Some of her strongest w...

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Publishers Weekly

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Living alone in the forest, Baba Yaga watches longingly as the babushkas of the village care for their grandchildren.

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Publishers Weekly

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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.

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