cover image Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women

Vasilisa the Wise and Other Tales of Brave Young Women

Kate Forsyth, illus. by Lorena Carrington. Kane Miller, $9.99 paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-61067-852-0

The intrepid young women in these thoughtfully chosen and sensitively updated folktales face deliciously thrilling dangers—a Baba-Yaga with “teeth of iron, sharpened to points,” a macabre faerie dance with music played on “instruments carved from bone and hung with teeth”—alongside deep heartbreaks: the theft of a baby, the loss of a beloved partner. Forsyth’s evocative language uses well-chosen detail—“the queen filled the silver cup... from the thorn-shadowed pool”—to conjure enchanted worlds, complemented by the ornate details in Carrington’s inky digital-collage silhouettes. Framing text situates each tale’s history, while story-specific comments by Forsyth and Carrington reveal their creative process and call attention to themes of female friendship and empowerment. The final tale, Mary de Morgan’s “The Toy Princess” from 1877, is a particular revelation, offering a startlingly modern take on the perils of traditional princessdom. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)