When it comes to children books, at the beginning I very often judge a book by its illustrations and this time, An Leysen graphics are dream-like. They look like beautiful paintings sending emotional messages beyond times and ages. And I am not talking only about the beautiful big eyes of the girl, Olga, but even negative characters like the famous Baba Yaga are perfect.
The writing is equally attractive, which makes the book a perfect gift for children of 4 years or more, as you can both read and show them the illustrations. I've read the English translation - from the original Dutch version - and it is well done.
For me, it is interesting to observe how old legends - as the Slav story of the terrifying Baba Yaga - are reintepreted or just partially used in a different, atemporal context. After the death of her mother, her father remarried a beautiful, but rotten-at-heart-woman, who is oppressing the beautiful Olga. Thanks to a doll left to her by her mother, she succeeds to escape the trials and dangers of a visit to the Baba Yaga, the beautiful lady's sister. Living in a house on chicken legs, the old ugly witch flies by herself and loves to eat little children. Olga's good deeds are mostly saving her from being boiled in hot water before being served to the Baba Yaga. Listening to the doll's advice and her heart, she succeeds to return and convinces her father, previously blinded by love, that his second wife is nothing but a wolf in sheep's clothing. The peace and love are coming back to their house, while the sister of Baba Yaga, left their house for ever.
It is a book about hope that good things could always happen and the power of good deeds. Plus, an incentive to imagine that even someone as terrible as living in a house on chicken legs can be beaten.
A book recommended for both its beautiful illustrations and the lessons learned of the written text.
Rating: 5 stars
Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher via NetGalley.com