Older children and art students will respond warmly.

VASILISA THE BEAUTIFUL

A RUSSIAN FOLKTALE

The Russian tale of Vasilisa and Baba Yaga, reillustrated for a new generation.

The folk tale is familiar to many, in itself and for its echoes of “Cinderella,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and even “Rumpelstiltskin.” It’s complex in structure and a little awkward in this translation, but mesmerizing illustrations carry the thread wholly to its lovely conclusion. Vasilisa’s dying mother gives her a little doll to protect her, and she needs it, as her stepmother and stepsisters work her cruelly. When they force Vasilisa to retrieve light from the fearsome Baba Yaga, the doll helps her to perform all the tasks Baba Yaga sets her to, and the light given her (a skull with blazing eye sockets) also destroys the evil stepfamily. Vasilisa takes refuge with an old woman, weaves linen so fine only the czar deserves it, and he, of course, falls in love with its weaver at once. The pictures are layered in patterns clearly inspired by Klimt, Chagall, and the spirit of surrealism, full of stars and birds and the colors of Russian lacquered boxes. The text weaves in Russian proverbs: “morning is wiser than evening.” The figure of Baba Yaga is both gorgeous and terrifying: half woman, half bird, all magical.

Older children and art students will respond warmly. (Picture book/folk tale. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-988-8240-50-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING

A fresh delicious fantasy that children will love.

In the character of 9-year-old Pippi Longstocking, who was lucky to have no parents to tell her what to do, is a juvenile Robin Hood with the authority of Mammy Yokum and a Mighty Mouse. Pippi- red headed, in longstockings (one black and one brown), and the strongest girl in the world was the friend of Tommy and Annika. Calmly and ingeniously she put down the enemy forces of the adult world — with a serene efficiency. The teacher was baffled by her logic in pointing out the futility of learning arithmetic; bullies she hoisted on trees; at the circus Pippi rode bareback, walked the tightrope, and wrestled the wrestling champ; cream and sugar flowed (on the floor) when Pippi attended a ladies' coffee party where she revealed "horrid things" with the complacency of Eliza Doolittle. Champion of fun, freedom and fantasy and long happy thoughts,

Pippi is an inspired creation knit from daydreams.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 1950

ISBN: 978-0-14-030957-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1950

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Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud.

THE NEWSPAPER CLUB

From the Newspaper Club series , Vol. 1

Eleven-year-old Nellie’s investigative reporting leads her to solve a mystery, start a newspaper, and learn key lessons about growing up.

Nellie’s voice is frank and often funny—and always full of information about newspapers. She tells readers of the first meeting of her newspaper club and then says, “But maybe I’m burying the lede…what Dad calls it when a reporter puts the most interesting part…in the middle or toward the end.” (This and other journalism vocabulary is formally defined in a closing glossary.) She backtracks to earlier that summer, when she and her mother were newly moved into a house next to her mother’s best friend in rural Bear Creek, Maine. Nellie explains that the newspaper that employed both of her parents in “the city” had folded soon after her father left for business in Asia. When Bear Creek Park gets closed due to mysterious, petty crimes, Nellie feels compelled to investigate. She feels closest to her dad when on the park’s swings, and she is more comfortable interviewing adults than befriending peers. Getting to know a plethora of characters through Nellie’s eyes is as much fun as watching Nellie blossom. Although astute readers will have guessed the park’s vandalizers, they are rewarded by observing Nellie’s fact-checking process. A late revelation about Nellie’s father does not significantly detract from this fully realized story of a young girl adjusting admirably to new circumstances. Nellie and her mother present white; secondary characters are diverse.

Nellie Bly’s contemporary namesake does her proud. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-9685-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Running Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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