cover image Babushka Baba Yaga

Babushka Baba Yaga

Patricia Polacco. Philomel Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22531-4

Living alone in the forest, Baba Yaga watches longingly as the babushkas of the village care for their grandchildren. Snatching an outfit off a clothesline, the wizened, long-eared creature disguises herself as one of the village grandmothers and goes in search of a child to love. She finds the cherubic Victor, whose mother needs someone to watch him while she works. Baba Yaga savors her new life, until one day she overhears the other babushkas speaking hatefully of the legendary Baba Yaga. Greatly saddened, she decides to return to her home in the woods before Victor discovers her true identity. Polacco's soothing version of this Russian folktale ends happily: Baba Yaga saves her beloved charge from a pack of vicious wolves and earns the babushkas' praise and acceptance. The art features Polacco's ( Rechenka's Eggs ) trademark sumptuous colors, a rich melange of patterns and textures--and even a sprinkling of forest fairies. Such visual dimension, coupled with her direct yet resonant narrative, marks this as another of Polacco's winning picture books. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)