The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson
|The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Memorable characters abound in this wonderful, vivid story which puts the Slavic folk lore figure of Baba Yaga into modern child's life. This is a book they'll read again and again and again.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: April 2018|
|External links: Author's website|
My house has chicken legs. Two or three times a year, without warning, it stands up in the middle of the night and walks away from where we've been living.
Ok. I dare you to tell me that you don't want to read a story about a house with chicken legs. There is no way anyone could resist. I certainly couldn't! Marinka lives in this chicken-legged house with her grandmother, Baba Yaga, whose job it is to guide dead people through The Gate. But Marinka is lonely. The house, her grandmother and Marinka never stay anywhere long enough for Marinka to make any friends. And Marinka is determined to change this. But the chicken-legged house has its own agenda...
... oh my word. This story is so lovely. It isn't really a retelling of the classic Slavic folktales about Baba Yaga. It's more of a reimagining. Marinka's story is both classic and contemporary. It will speak to a twenty-first century reader's thoughts and concerns but it will also take them on a magical journey of wonder. The characters that Marinka meets along the way all rise from the pages, unforgettable and vivid individuals. I particularly loved Jack, the crosspatch of a jackdaw. Marinka is fabulous - full of dreams and longings and determined enough to follow her quest to the very end. And the house with the chicken legs? Well, the house is a character of its own and one you'll never forget. It's the living, beating heart of the book and I think you should meet it yourself by reading.
To middle grade readers who love magical stories and quirky characters, I would say - You. Must. Read. This. Book! and leave it at that.
And to teachers and school librarians, I would say - This is the perfect addition to the classroom. It is a magical and special read full of vivid imagery and wonderful characters. And it also deals with real human emotions that can be talked about - loneliness especially. And there are so many extension activities - from learning about Slavic folklore to creative exercises. Sophie Anderson has a great collection of supporting resources on her website, including fact sheets about Baba Yaga, worksheets and even some delicious recipes.
Highly, highly, recommended. This one should win all the awards and go down as a classic.
Younger children can read about Baba Yaga in Vasilisa the Beautiful (Russian Folktales) by Anthea Bell and Anna Morgunova. Older readers might enjoy the take on the selkie myth in The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan.
You can read more book reviews or buy The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson at Amazon.com.
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