cover image Rechenka's Eggs

Rechenka's Eggs

Patricia Polacco. Philomel Books, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-21501-8

An old woman named Babushka always wins first prize in the Easter festival for her exquisitely painted Ukrainian eggs. When she finds a wounded goose outside her house, Babushka takes her in, cares for her until she is strong again, and names her Rechenka. The goose lays an egg each morning for the old woman, but as she begins to heal, she flies around, knocking over Babushka's jars of colored paints and breaking all her Easter eggs. Babushka is miserable, until Rechenka miraculously lays brilliantly colored eggs; the old woman wins first prize once more. Polacco's story is truly rewarding; Babushka's gift for coloring eggs comes across in a splendid array of folkloric patterns, minute detail and batik-like paintings. Babushka is given credit, but the artistry is Polacco's. Intricate designs and opulent colors shade every page, right down to the onion-shaped domes and peasants' festival garments. Ages 4-8. (April)