Monday, April 18, 2016

Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola

Baba Yaga's Assistant 
by Marika McCoola
illustrated by Emily Carroll
132 pages
Candlewick Press
August 2015
Book Jacket Summary
Must have skills in hauling, obeying orders, cooking, and cleaning. Magical talent a bonus. Must be good with heights. Enter Baba Yaga's house to apply.

Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, and that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga's house on chicken legs, but within its walls, deceit is the rule. To earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her host. No easy task, with children on the menu!  

My Thoughts
Baba Yaga is such an interesting fairy tale character. She lives in a house with chicken legs, eats naughty children, and has many strange pets. I have read a few stories that featured her and I like the challenges she give her characters. This graphic novel puts a twist on the story because Masha already knows the stories and is more prepared when meeting Baba Yaga. In fact, she searches Baba Yaga out to become her assistant because she feels unwelcome at home. She is placed through some of the same tests her gandmother went through many years ago but with a twist.

The element of family is a strong theme through the story with the strong bond between Masha and her grandmother but a broke one between Masha and her father. It is her father's remarriage and seemingly disregard for her that pushes her out of the house and looking for Baba Yaga. It is dealt with in a good manner and I did not feel like it was very rushed. I wish there was a little more time spent with Masha and her father but is does have a satisfying conclusion.

This graphic novel is illustrated is blues and purples. I love the cover with Baba Yaga grinning manically. I enjoyed this one and I wonder why I left it on my shelf for so long! This is a great addition to the graphic novel shelf either in your home or gracing the library shelves. 

Book Pairings
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch 
Foiled by Jane Yolen



  1. A fabulous new updated version of the Baba Yaga tale with wonderful illustrations. Perfect for every age!


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