cover image Baba Yaga: A Russian Folktale

Baba Yaga: A Russian Folktale

Eric A. Kimmel. Holiday House, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0854-2

Kimmel's ( Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins ) waggish, well-turned retelling of this popular legend contains the requisite elements of classic folktales. A good merchant has lost his wife and lives alone with his loving, virtuous daughter--``who would have been exceptionally beautiful as well were it not for a great ugly horn growing out of the middle of her forehead.'' He remarries; his new wife is a shrew with a selfish, lazy daughter, and the man departs. The wicked stepmother proceeds to rule the roost, and sends the sweet girl into the clutches of Baba Yaga, the dreaded local witch with the pseudonym Auntie-in-the-Forest. This engrossing story is both fanciful and suspenseful. Lloyd's ( How We Learned the Earth Is Round ) burnished, somewhat cartoony illustrations of the rural scene--with such enticing details as a witch's cabin resting on chicken feet--are just right. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)