Book Review: Baba Yaga by An Leysen

Baba Yaga is a picturebook that was written and illustrated by An Leysen. Once upon a time, in a land far away from here, lived a girl named Olga. Olga lived with her father in a beautiful house, and they were very happy together. Until Olga’s father one day fell in love again but his new wife was cruel and mean. And her sister Baba Yaga, who lived in a dark forest, was even meaner. Baba Yaga was a real witch! There was a rumor she was fond of children on her plate! One day Olga’s stepmother sent her to Baba Yaga. What was she supposed to do now?

Baba Yaga is a retelling of the classic Slavonic myth. Olga is a sweet girl put in a bad situation, a common start to fairy tales world wide. I have heard different tales about Baba Yaga over the years, and I found this version to be simple enough to share with younger readers than most of the versions I have read. The illustrations are lovely and add a great deal to the atmosphere of the story, and included details that enrich the story. This would be a wonderful addition to a classroom unit of fairytales and legends, or just for sharing. It is a little text heavy, which is necessary to tell the story, so I would label this an older picturebook or one to share.

Baba Yaga is a wonderful version of this classic tale. I think the illustrations are what really sold it to me, with their soft ethereal feel. A delightful book for sharing a fairy tale that some might not be familiar with.

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