cover image Egg and Spoon

Egg and Spoon

Gregory Maguire. Candlewick, $17.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7220-1

An imprisoned monk narrates this fabulist tale from Maguire, which draws inspiration from Russian folklore, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, while incorporating a modern thread about the threat of climate change. On her way to be presented to the Tsar’s godson, wealthy Ekaterina is marooned in a rural village when a broken bridge stops her train. Peasant Elena approaches the luxurious train to beg, and the two girls take tentative steps toward friendship; when the train starts moving again, the wrong one is aboard. The journey to their eventual reunion brings Ekaterina in contact with legendary witch Baba Yaga. Though the setting is circa 1900, Maguire’s riffs are mostly contemporary: Baba Yaga complains about regifting, owns the original cast recording from Damn Yankees, and bemoans that she’s out of “Granny Yaga’s Frozen Tater Tots, made from real tots.” Like the matryoshka doll Elena carries, there are a lot of layers to Maguire’s story. Rich, descriptive language will reward readers who like to sink their teeth into a meaty story. Ages 12–up. Agent: William Reiss, John Hawkins and Associates. [em](Sept.) [/em]