Jane Yolen The Firebird

ISBN 13: 9780060285395

The Firebird

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9780060285395: The Firebird

In a certain land, in a certain kingdom -- as they say in old Russia -- on the far side of a certain tangled wood, a garden shimmered like a green jewel....

Inside that jewellike garden, an evil wizard named Kostchei the Deathless holds a princess and her nine maidens captive, turning all those who attempt to save them to stone. But help is nearby -- Prince Ivan searching the nearby tangled wood for food, finds the young women and vows to save them. And with some help from the powerful and mischievous Firebird, as well as with much true courage from within, Prince Ivan will slay a horde of demons and Kostchei himself in order to free the damsels.

Jane Yolen's rich, mystical narrative is based on both the well-known Russian folktale and the famous Balanchine/Stravinsky ballet. Enhancing that theme, Vladimir Vagin has created exquisite paintings with a double focus: The folktale takes center stage, while intricate vignettes of the ballet serve as a border. The result is a seamlessly woven multilayered tapestry of story and art that will make this book a treasure for ballet lovers new and old.

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About the Author:

Jane Yolen is the award-winning author of more than two hundred books, including fantasy, science fiction, and poetry, which earned her the moniker the American Hans Christian Andersen. Her titles include Odysseus in the Serpent Maze, The Dragon's Boy, and The Girl Who Loved the Wind. Jane Yolen divides her time between a farmhouse in Massachusetts and a house in Scotland.



Vladimir Vagin lived in Russia until he moved to the United States in 1990. Mr. Vagin has illustrated several books for children, including Katherine Paterson’s The King’s Equal and Celia and the Sweet, Sweet Water. He lives in Middletown Springs, VT.

From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 3-A well-known character in Russian folklore, the fierce and beautiful Firebird, is also featured in the ballet, set to the music of Igor Stravinsky. It is the ballet version of the story that Yolen and Vagin present in this richly hued picture book. Young Prince Ivan is hunting near the castle of the terrible demon Kostchei when he captures Firebird. In exchange for its freedom, the bird gives Ivan one of its feathers, which eventually helps him to defeat the demon and marry the beautiful princess imprisoned in the castle. The text makes the story clear and exciting, faltering slightly at the rhymed incantations: "Wave the feather in the air- Firebird will be right there." Yolen has based her telling on George Balanchine's choreography, which varies slightly from other versions. The Fokine version, found in Louis Untermeyer's Tales from the Ballet (Golden Press, 1968; o.p.), adds a magical egg holding the powers of Kostchei. The illustrations are especially useful in explicating the ballet. In the large painting at the top of each spread, the action is played out in the forest by the hero, villain, and bird. In the long, narrow artwork below the text, the scene on stage is shown, with costumed dancers portraying the Firebird and demons. Even the pit orchestra is given a scene in the beginning. Not to be confused with two stunningly illustrated titles of different folktales, Demi's The Firebird (Holt, 1994; o.p.) and Ruth Sanderson's The Golden Mare, the Firebird, and the Magic Ring (Little, Brown, 2001), Yolen's Firebird will be most appreciated as an introduction to the ballet.
Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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