The Little Black Hen by Antony Pogorelsky

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This Russian fairy tale, first published in 1829 (and a favorite of Tolstoy's), is elegantly interpreted by Russian-born Spirin, considered one of our best living illustrators.

Alyosha is a pupil at a boarding school in St. Petersburg. He saves a little black hen from the cook's knife and, in return, the hen takes him to an underground kingdom of little people, where he receives a gift of magical powers from their king. He becomes the brightest student at school, without having to study at all. Soon no one likes him anymore and Alyosha, trying to ingratiate himself, confesses to his magical power. Unfortunately, this breaks the spell and causes the little people from the magic kingdom to move away. Having learned his lesson, he undertakes to study and learn in school on his own.


About Antony Pogorelsky

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Antony Pogorelsky was a famous Russian Romantic writer, 1787-1836. This story was cited by Tolstoy as a childhood favorite. Elizabeth James is Head of British Collections, 1801-1914, at The British Library, where she has been responsible for a number of exhibitions relating to nineteenth-century authorship and publishing. Her previous books include Thomas Hardy, 1840-1928 (The British Library, 1990) and Penny Dreadfulsand Boys' Adventures (co-authored with Helen Smith, The British Library, 1998). Gennady Spirin was born on Christmas Day in 1948 in a small city near Moscow. He has illustrated many books, and his work has been recognized with many international awards. Mr. Spirin lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with his wife and three sons.
Published June 1, 1984 by Imported Pubn. 32 pages
Genres: Children's Books.

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Trudging away handcuffed, Blackey sighs, "This is my punishment for your mistake," then says that Alyosha can redeem Blackey's suffering by becoming "a kind and worthy boy again."

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