Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Read more...
Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga's house-on-chicken-legs, but within its walls, deceit is the rule. To earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her host. No easy task, with children on the menu Spooky and poignant, Marika McCoola's stunning debut--with richly layered art by acclaimed graphic artist Emily Carroll--is a storytelling feat and a visual feast.
- ISBN-13: 9780763669614
- ISBN-10: 076366961X
- Publisher: Candlewick Press (MA)
- Publish Date: August 2015
- Page Count: 136
- Reading Level: Ages 10-UP
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-05-25
- Reviewer: Staff
Masha has lost her grandmother, who loved and nurtured Masha after her mother’s death. Her stories led Masha to believe that her grandmother had known the fairy tale witch Baba Yaga personally. So when Masha sees a newspaper ad asking for an assistant (“enter Baba Yaga’s house to apply”), she strikes out for the famous chicken-legged dwelling. The trials that Baba Yaga challenges Masha with allow her to work through some dark memories and offer a chance to resolve present-day problems, too, including the loss of her father’s attention to a new fiancée. Though newcomer McCoola’s dialogue wobbles a bit early on (“I’m tired of being overlooked. I need to do something useful for someone”), it tightens up quickly as Masha battles a bear, bathes a closetful of snakes, and sweet-talks Baba Yaga’s house into letting her enter (“I think the porch and stairs add grace to your proportions”). Carroll’s (Through the Woods) spidery, delicate drawings convey deliciously understated creepiness. Strong, complex characters and the inventive fusion of contemporary and fairy tale elements make this a noteworthy collaboration. Ages 10–up. Agent: Jen Linnan, Linnan Literary Management. (Aug.)