Receiving Matreshka, a little wooden doll, Kata slips her into her pocket, never realizing the magic of which Matreshka is capable.
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Kindergarten-Grade 3-- Drawing upon traditional Russian folklore, Ayres creates an accessible and exciting picture book in which a young girl outwits the evil Baba Yaga. After sharing her meal with an old woman she meets on the road, Kata is given a little wooden doll named Matreshka. Lost in a snowstorm, the child stumbles upon the witch's fearsome house and is given a room for the evening. When Kata realizes she's to be Baba Yaga's next meal, the wooden doll saves her life. Out of the larger Matreshka pop four smaller dolls who find a way out of locked doors, crawl through a mouse's hole, and confuse the witch so thoroughly that she accidently turns herself into a green frog. Natchev's bold, lively illustrations occupy double-page spreads and have a fresh, often whimsical look. The watercolor washes boast a variety of textures, and the characters are depicted in an exaggerated manner. Unfortunately, there is a lack of agreement between text and illustration at the beginning of the book. The text has Kata returning from a trip to town while the illustrations show her just leaving her grandfather's house. Even so, the story will have wide appeal and is suitable for sharing aloud or reading independently. It also makes an entertaining introduction to Russian folklore and culture, especially if told using a set of Russian nesting dolls. --Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University, Normal
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This rather bland fairy tale, inspired by Russian folklore, tells of a girl captured by the evil witch Baba Yaga whose doll comes to her rescue. A carved wooden figure, Matreshka pops open at crucial moments to reveal successively smaller dolls, which act as lookouts and unlatch doors during Kata's flight from the crone's house. Ayres's ( Victoria Flies High ) mild narrative evinces no suspense or particular grace needed to distinguish it from other retold tales. Kata is a passive heroine, and even Matreshka "speaks" only in couplets that strain for rhyme at the expense of meter--"Lift me up to see / out of the door,/ And in a moment / we may know more." The somewhat lame denouement--in which the smallest of the dolls whispers in Baba Yaga's ear, confounding her spell and transforming her into a frog--lacks the dramatic buildup and powerful climax of a true folktale. Natchev's bright, collage-like mixed-media artwork, in hues of purple, green and orange, depicts Kata and her grandfather with button noses and red cheeks, looking a good deal like another pair of cute dolls. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Doubleday Books for Young Readers. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0385306571 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0123746
Book Description Doubleday Books for Young Read, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110385306571
Book Description Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Alexi Natchev (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0385306571