The Star of Kazan
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The Star of Kazan

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  4,313 ratings  ·  398 reviews
Annika has never had a birthday. Instead she celebrates her Found Day, the day a housemaid and a cook to three eccentric Viennese professors found her and took her home. There, Annika has made a happy life in the servants' quarters, surrounded with friends, including the elderly woman next door who regales Annika with stories of her performing days and her countless admire...more
Paperback, 388 pages
Published 2008 by Macmillan Children's Books (first published December 31st 1999)
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Oct 15, 2011 Namratha rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jen, Sheel Mehta, Kate
Eva Ibbotson weaves an old-fashioned adventure around a young foundling called Annika. Abandoned in a church on the slopes of Mt. Dorfelspitze, the baby is adopted by a pair of friends: Ellie, the cook and Sigrid, the housemaid. They take her back to their owners’ house in Vienna. Annika is a happy, industrious child.....learning to cook Viennese delicacies from Ellie, keeping the house sparkling clean and doing a multitude of odd jobs for the eccentric professors who are the owners of the house...more
Shaffleoppleplutika Xeliet
This is a sweet story. In general I like Eva Ibbotson's books, but honestly, this one really stood out to me. I love how she catches you off guard with details you didn't think mattered. The main character is kind and you can really sympathize to her, and the overall plot is well developed. It's not too hard of a read, and the words flow easily. I really think you should read this book- it's one of my favorites.
Maia B.
I do like Eva Ibbotson.

Her books for older people (A Countess Below Stairs is my favorite) are really excellent, but her children's books are almost - better. By which I mean...even more tightly plotted, even more lovable, even more well-written.

Annika isn't absolutely fascinating, but she's strong and funny and she has pretty hair. (Although I have to say, I'm a bit tired of the protagonist shut up in some awful place, succoring herself with remembering something good about her life [cooking,...more
Eva Ibbotson has a special place in my heart. Most of her books are so endearingly absurd, whilst at the same time dealing with some very pressing issues of childhood.
In Star of Kazan, it's loneliness and belonging.

It is a kind of deviation from her usual, in that it is in many ways a very straightforward mystery story. It's also a lot more gloomy, due to the setting of Edeltraut's home.

The story is very low-key, too, because it isn't much of an action packed adventure, rather a slow, slow burn...more
Miss Clark
3.5 stars

This is just a fun, very enjoyable tale of an foundling child, Annika, who was taken in by Sigrid and Ellie, the servants of a trio of professors in Vienna. She has a happy life there with her adopted mother Ellie, her "aunt" and "uncles", and her many friends throughout the town. She daydreams about her mother one day coming for her, until it actually happens and she is dragged off to Germany.

Now, if you know Ibbotson's style, not much in the story will come as a surprise, as her plots...more
A wonderfully readable mystery by the incomparable Eva Ibbotson. Annika is an orphan who was abandoned as an infant. She is taken in by two servants who work for a family of eccentric professors. She grows up in a servant’s world, surrounded by love, but she yearns to know more about her birth mother. Annika is recruited to care for the elderly relative of an obnoxious family in the neighborhood who are indifferent to their relative’s well being. Annika befriends the old lady, who tells her all...more
Bonnie Gayle
Jul 14, 2007 Bonnie Gayle rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of The Little Princess
Hmm...Eva Ibbotson wrote this as a tribute to Vienna, the country she grew up in, and sure enough, I only liked the sections that took place in Vienna, not in Germany. I found the part of the story that takes place in Germany miserably depressing. Sadly, the Vienna section is only the first 80, and last 50 pages of the over 400 page book. I wasn't in the mood to read a depressing story, so I skimmed the rest of the book, because I was interested in seeing what happened.
The story is about a girl...more
Annika lives in Vienna, in the household of three professors, where’s she being raised by the two servants who found her in a church when she was just a few days old. Although she is very happy in her life and loves the professors as well as Ellie and Sigrid, the servants who found her, Annika has dreams about her mother coming, arriving at the house in Vienna to reclaim her. Annika just knows that her mother will be beautiful and someone important and that she will be delighted to have found he...more
Sometimes I felt like this story was wandering, especially at the beginning. Hard to put down, though. And hard to describe--there was humor, but it's not a funny book. There were a lot of strange things happening (and strange characters, some of them), but most of it felt really ordinary. It was predictable, yet I kept wanting to know what would happen next.
The main character, Annika, got a little annoying at times, but for most of the book she's twelve, so I guess that's to be expected--I did...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Long for an Ibbotson, and no magical talking animals etc. The NYT quote says 'echoes of Frances Hodgson Burnett' but I found them faint. There's a stronger resemblance to Joan Aiken, for example The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

I'm glad there were almost no politics & warmongering. It's mostly an homage to Vienna's golden age, with lots of characters and events involved in the mystery so that we can learn a lot about the era.
The last time I read this book was about 5 years ago and I remembered it to have been a good book but I had forgotten just how good it is. Once again, I am blown away by the way Eva Ibbotson creates a completely believable new world and thoroughly enjoyable characters. Although this bok is written for children, I recommend that you also read it as a teen or adult because it is only then that you will be able to appreciate the truly beautiful writing style, especially the descriptions of historic...more
I usually like Eva Ibbotson so I wanted to give this book a try. Of all the Ibbotson I have read, this has been my least favorite. I am not sure what elements really turned me off. Maybe it was the predictability, maybe it was the decisions Annika made that just didn't make any sense to me. Her idea of a mother and the actions of a mother up against the experience of living with her foster mother should have been cut and dry to me. I couldn't understand the misguided sense of loyalty. That spoil...more
Amy Musser
11 year old Annika has had the same dream ever since she can remember – the mother who abandoned her in a tiny church in the Austrian mountains suddenly arrives at the door. She’s never really imagined what would happen after that point, but it’s still a lovely dream. Annika doesn’t daydream about it too much, she’s too busy living and loving life with her adopted family in Vienna. She lives with Ellie and Sigrid, the two women who found her in the church that sunny day, along with three siblin...more
I debated between 4 to 5 stars. As an adult, I very much enjoyed this book, hence the 4 stars. As a child in 5th grade, I think I would have liked it even more, 5 stars. The fairytale like story had a good mixture of happy and sad, love for the heroine and beauty in the setting. Surrounding characters were absolutely perfect in their description and manner. Annika, the main character, I came to love just as much as I loved the book. Great ending to a wonderful story!
Eva Ibbotson is by far my favourite author ever! Her books are the perfect mix of historical fiction, adventure and that special touch Eva adds to all her books. The Star of Kazan was lovely and I absolutely loved the twists and turns of the story. Eva Ibbotson does this thing in her books where she makes you just want to be there and seeing the events unwinding right in front of you, with the Star of Kazan, the detailed description of Vienna and the sights within just made me want to jump into...more
Not quite as good as Journey to the River Sea.

Good lyricism and atmosphere.
Boring in bits.
Lacking a strong, in any way, main character. Rather like a sheep, in that she question her "mother" in no way and just followed along.
Side characters were more interesting.
Predictable plot.
Still enjoyable.

Recommended for MG children.
I had to read Star of Kazan for my English class. My friends all read it before me, and they said it was a really good book. I believed them but once I began to start reading, I began to have doubts. To be honest, I wasn't all that thrilled with the storyline. I've had previous experiences with Eva Ibbotson books, and I didn't particularly enjoy any of them. But I didn't hate any of them. Just neutral.

The Star of Kazan is about a girl called Annika who celebrates her Found Day instead of her bir...more
Marjolaine B
I have recently been reading some new (to us) books in hopes of finding some small gems for my younger siblings.
This book brings the main character, Annika to life in a warm manner. I really felt like I knew the girl. The author also describes Vienna in bright fashion. The plot is interesting.
Yet there was something missing from this story. I don't have much time to analyze a children's fictional story, but I believe the author failed to present her main point strongly enough. Annika has a s...more
Aruna Muthumanickam
Every fantasy lover must read this book, at least once. The characters are refreshingly moulded and the story is such that one doesn't just read but dreams through the book. And that is a good thing, trust me.
Judy Ekblad
Loved this book. Thanks for recommending it Lawrene!
I headed into this book knowing I had read it before - because I recognized the cover - but remembered absolutely nothing about it. However, the deeper I got into it the more I happily remembered, which is a very good way to reread a book, IMO. When I read the inside cover it sounded frightfully boring and, as I previously mentioned, it seemed to me very reminiscent of the 90's Don Bluth film Anastasia, at least in terms of the plot. But once Annika arrives at Spittal, the plot veers away from t...more
Annika has never had a birthday. Instead, she celebrates her Found Day, the day a housemaid and a cook for three eccentric Viennese professors found her and took her home. There, Annika made a happy life in the servants' quarters and surrounded herself with friends, including the elderly woman next door who regaled Annika with stories about her countless admirers-especially the Russian count who gave her the legendary emerald, the Star of Kazan. And yet Annika still dreamed of finding her try mo...more
Jul 29, 2010 Jenne rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young teens who like to read big books!
Shelves: audiobook, reviewed
A good story that took awhile to wrap up the ending. Patricia Connelly(?) did a good job of reading it though.

Founding, Annika has been brought up in Vienna. Ellie and Sigrid, the two women who found her are wonderful, as are the professor’s they work for and of course, all her friends. She learns to love cooking, sees the legendary horse of Vienna put through their paces and enjoys listening to the tales of the old lady who used to be on the stage and received many breath-taking jewels, includi...more
Meera K.
Imagine taking a hike with your friend. With new boots on (pretend you're foolish enough to do that.) Imagine the newly forming blisters under your feet, your aching ankles, and general discomfort. Struggling to take every step, you see a church. Making a quick excuse to your friend, you hobble into the church, take off your nasty shoes, sigh in relief, and close your eyes, taking in the comforting atmosphere; only to be woken up by sensing the presence of another human among one of the pews. Wh...more
Ellie Matthews
Eva Ibbotson is one of my favourite authors so I probably end up re-reading one of her books on rotation about once a month. She fled Vienna in the 1930s as a child because her family were non-practising Jews and a lot of her stories are about refugees and finding identity in a new place. They are full of lots of the classic tropes of children’s literature: foundlings, evil guardians, mysterious treasure and last minute rescues, which make them satisfying reads for most ages. What help them stan...more
In October 2010, we all lost a magnificent author. This book, The Star of Kazan, has made me realise how much of a loss Eva Ibbotson is to the writing world. I have never been more thankful for her books, which will definitely be read over and over again.

Annika is a young foundling who had been abandoned as a baby in a small church, she was raised by two servants of three professors and was taught how to cook, clean and do many household jobs. She lived a very happy life with two of her friends...more
Annika is an orphan, though she doesn’t feel neglected. She was found by two women who raised her as their own daughter, and did their best to provide everything she would need. But Annika still dreams of her mother showing up unexpectedly to whisk her away to happily ever after. One day, after Annika has made several friends, learned that her gift is cooking and finally realizes that Vienna is a good home, her mother does show up, sweeping into the room and proclaiming she has finally found her...more
Elinor  Loredan
Ibbotson makes a great effort to make her characters unique and vivid, and succeeds. Each one has habits and oddities just like real people do, and the slyly amusing comments about them make the story extremely fun, and also meaningful, to read. I can't help loving Ellie, her friend, and the professors and deploring the Eggharts and Annika's relatives. In Annika's story, ideology is examined. Annika longs for a mother who is rich and beautiful and, unbelievably gets her wish, going away with her...more
If you have read Ibbotson or reviews of Ibbotson, you know her plots are pretty much alike. And even though this book is aimed at a middle grade audience, it contains the same elements as her books for adults, minus the grown-up romance. Before I go any further, I should say that the reason I and others keep reading these books, is that, although similar, they are delightful subverted fairytales that remain enchanting no matter how many retellings.

This story is set in 1908 Vienna, with its ornat...more
I picked this book up knowing absolutely nothing about it. I was scrounging the tables at a library book sale, glanced briefly at the summary, and threw it in my bag because it sounded vaguely interesting. I had no idea how much of a treat I was in for! This book is incredibly charming and sweet. Not sickeningly sweet. More like comfortable and familiar sweet.

A New York Times blub on the cover of my book compares the Frances Hodgson Burnett’s work. I’ve only read one of her books, The Secret Gar...more
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Eva Ibbotson (born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner, 1925, Vienna, Austria) was a British novelist specializing in romance and children's fantasy. Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. When Hitler came into power, Ibbotson's family moved to England. She attended Bedford College, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946-47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduat...more
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“Pauline kept a scrapbook into which she pasted important articles that she had cut out of the newspapers. These were about the courageous deeds that had been done by people even if they only had one leg or couldn't see or had been dropped on their heads when they were babies.
'It's to make me brave,' she'd explained to Annika.”
“It was a lovely church - one of those places which look as though God might be about to give a marvellous party.” 3 likes
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