Children's Books 




 The Little Snowgirl : An Old Russian Tale

The Little Snowgirl is a retelling of "The Little Daughter of Snow" from Arthur Ransome's Old Peter's Russian Tales. This is a Christmas tale featuring Babouchka, the old woman of Christmas who parallel's her better known Italian counterpart Befana. In the tale a woodcarver and his wife have everything they need and want except for a child. After seeing his wife's sadness as the caroling children dream of their gifts from Babouchka, the woodcarver makes a snow girl as a surprise to his wife. The snow girl comes to life, eating crushed ice and sleeping in the cold. Until the miracle of Christmas ... The illustrations are very well matched in style to the story. This is a delightful book which I recommend.

cover  The Magic Gold Fish : A Russian Folktale

Fantastic illustrations for this classic fable about a man who catches a magic fish. The man releases the fish when it speaks to him and asks him to spare its life. In gratitude, the fish grants him a wish, but
the man's greedy wife demands more and more.... Children love this magical tale, and adults will appreciate the detailed decorations in this rendition.

 cover  Babushka's Doll (Aladdin Picture Books)

While visiting her grandmother, Natasha demands that she drop her
work whenever Natasha wants anything. When Babushka goes out,
Natasha plays with a doll that springs to life. After running around to keep up with the doll's demands, an exhausted Natasha has learned her lesson. The folk-art quality and colorful patterns are perfectly suited to the lively story. Ages 4-8

 The Magic Babushka : An Original Russian...

Bright colors and expressive faces form the illustrations in a full page format that surrounds this original Russian folk tale. The result: A beautiful book that's hard to put down. The ingredients of a folk tale are all there: A little magic. Some romance. The good winning over the bad. The triumph of a character that is loved. The author uses a challenging vocabulary, including unfamiliar Russian words that are carefully explained in an appendix. The writing is rich in description and, combined with the illustrations, create scenes easily imaginable as if the reader is "in" the story. This book belongs in the classroom or home library because of its literary quality exemplifying the style of a folk tale, and its accompanying art that brings the story to life, grabs the reader, and won't let go. 

 Bearhead : A Russian Folktale

Kimmel states that he has adapted ``Ivanko the Bear's Son'' by giving the protagonist a bear's head on a man's body rather than the reverse, and by having him outwit a witch instead of his stepfather. Obviously, these changes substantially alter the story's inner meaning, but Kimmel's version is an amusing tale of an apparent bumbler who repeatedly triumphs by taking instructions literally. Bearhead takes his father's place when he's summoned to be the witch's servant, soon so
discombobulating her household (e.g., when she asks him to clear the table, he throws it out the window) that she tries to get rid of him by sending him off to a goblin; a clever ruse saves him and results in vast wealth. Mikolaycak's beautiful illustrations are notable for their skillful, dramatic compositions; firmly enclosed on three sides, they open on a fourth to allow a pleasing accommodation of the
text--an innovative, very satisfactory design. Enriched by old-world Russian detail, they depict a sturdy, charming hero, an intriguing frog/sea-monster goblin who's more debonair than appalling, and an oddly vulnerable- looking witch. A satisfying story in a handsome setting.

 cover  Clay Boy : Adapted from a Russian Folktale

Grandpa makes a piece of clay into a boy who jumps up and yells, "I am here! I am hungry!" Clay Boy eats and eats and wants more and more. He gulps down everything in the house, including the geese and the cat and the dog. He gets bigger and hungrier. In one gulp, he swallows Grandpa and Grandma. He walks down the street and swallows the whole village; in one gulp, he swallows a peasant and a horse with a wagonload of hay. He swells bigger and bigger until he meets a clever, little white goat, which takes aim with its horns at the big, fat belly. Turn the page...well we won't ruin the surprise!


 Christmas in Russia (Christmas Around the
World from World Book)

A book in the series: Christmas Around the World from World Book

 cover  Favorite Fairy Tales Told in Russia

A beautiful snow maiden comes to life -- but what will happen when winter ends? Poor Vasilisa has to work like a slave for the evil Baba Yaga -- will her magic doll be able to save her? Only a flying ship will win the hand of the Tsar's daughter -- how can the Fool ever build one? This rich and varied selection of old Russian tales introduces many magical, memorable characters. 

 cover  Baba Yaga & the Wise Doll : A Traditional
Russian Folktale

Ruth Brown's stunning illustrations accompany an extraordinary fairy tale about a little girl who, with the advice of her wise doll, escapes a truly terrifying witch and her slimy, child-gobbling toads. After her jeweled toad is stolen, Baba Yaga devises a series of impossible tests for the little girl. If she passes them, she gets the toad, but if she doesn't the toad gets her. Not as scary as most Baba Yaga tales.


   Christmas in Ukraine : Christmas Around the
World (Christmas Around the World from World Book)

A book in the series: Christmas Around the World from World Book

cover  The Mitten : A Ukrainian Folktale

A Ukrainian boy named Nicki wants his grandmother Baba to knit snow-white mittens for him. She warns her grandson that a white mitten will be hard to find if he loses it in the snow, but of course he promptly does just that! What happens next is the surprising part, as a mole takes refuge in the lost mitten, then a rabbit, then a hedgehog, an owl, a badger, and a fox. If you think the mitten might be a wee bit stretched out at this point, just wait: "Then a big bear sniffed at the mitten. The animals were packed in tight, but the bear didn't care. He crawled in anyway." When a tiny mouse squeezes in, her whiskers tickle the bear's nose. He sneezes, and "Aaaaa-aaaaa-ca-chew!" all the animals fly out of their crocheted cave. As the mitten sails through the air, Nicki spots it, reclaims it, and takes it home to show his smiling Baba.

   The Bird's Gift : A Ukrainian Easter Story 

When an early winter leaves dozens of birds buried in snow and in danger of dying, a young girl and her grandfather rally the town to collect the birds and bring them into their homes and the church. Eventually, the golden birds seem ready to leave, so the townsfolk reluctantly let them go, only to find on Easter morning the grass
sprinkled with intricately decorated eggs. An author's note at the end tells about the tradition of making pysanky, the colorful decorated eggs traditional to the Ukrainian people. The watercolors on cream-colored paper are a trifle bland, but the borders of pysanky patterns add interest.

 cover Rechenka's Eggs

Babushka, known for her exquisite hand-painted eggs, finds Rechenka, a wounded goose, and takes her home. When she's ready to try her wings again, Rechenka accidentally breaks all of Babushka's lovingly crafted eggs. But the next morning Babushka awakens to a miraculous surprise. Full color. 

 cover  Over the Moon : An Adoption Tale

An ebullient tribute for families whose members may have come from a faraway place.

 cover  The Littlest Matryoshka

In a Russian village, Nikolai the matryoshka maker carves and paints six sister dolls, small to large, that will nest inside each other. Anna, the biggest, looks after her sisters during the long trip to an American toy shop. When Nina, the littlest doll, falls onto the floor and is kicked out the door, she begins an adventure that takes her through the snow, onto a dump truck, and into a stream. Plucked from the
water by a heron and gathered and then discarded by a squirrel, she is discovered by a little girl who, miraculously, reunites her with her sisters. Similar in structure to Andersen's "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," this story also uses his device of giving the dolls perception and feelings without endowing them with undoll-like abilities, such
as walking or talking. Unlike Andersen's story, this quiet adventure tale has no villain, though the hand of fate is apparent for ill as well as good. When the dolls are separated, the feeling of loss is intense. Children will share the character's satisfaction when the set of dolls is made whole again. The delicate sense of an orderly universe that shines through the writing is reflected in the appealing
paintings. The illustrator of Mem Fox's Tough Boris (1994), Brown creates a series of double-page spreads and smaller illustrations that combine good composition, clear delineation of forms, and appealing hues. Like Nina, who was "made of the heart of the sweet-smelling wood," this picture book was crafted of emotional heart wood, and children will respond to its essential goodness.