Friday, October 17, 2008

Baba Yaga and the Wise Doll retold by Oram Hiawyn, illustrated by Ruth Brown

I think this may well become one of my favorite Baba Yaga retellings. Baba Yaga, a magnificently ugly and frightening witch lives with her jeweled toads. And one day, Horrid and Very Horrid push Too Nice out into the woods to bring them back one of Baba Yaga's toads. With the help of her magic doll, a gift from her dead mother, Too Nice escapes Baba Yaga and wins a toad...who promptly swallows Horrid and Very Horrid. And from then on, Too Nice becomes..."Just About Right."

The images of Horrid and Very Horrid are very similar to Too Nice - a little psychology here? Ruth Brown's illustrations are, as always, gorgeous. Lush earth colors and textures, set with sparkling jewels of color. Plus, this is the best reason for Baba Yaga's existence in any of the Baba Yaga tales....'"You are truly terrifying," her trusty toads told her. "I hope so," said Baba Yaga. "That's what I'm here for!"

Verdict: Sadly, this lovely edition is out of print. Hopefully you already have it on your library shelves; if not, it's worth adding to your personal collection.

ISBN: 978-0525459477; Published February 1998 by Dutton; Borrowed from the library; Added to my private wishlist

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I love this story. I used it as an elementary teacher and really enjoyed using my "witchy" voice when I read Baba Yaga's lines. Now I am a Transpersonal psychologist, and appreciate the story on a deeper level. I like that the mother's voice, or the feminine inner wisdom, plays a major role in Too Nice's journey. A great lesson for all of us!
Kathy Mohr-Almeida, Ph.D.