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Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave
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Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  683 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Sweet, lovely Vasilisa lives with her jealous stepmother and stepsisters on the edge of a dark forest inhabited by the evil witch Baba Yaga. One night the stepmother sends Vasilisa to visit Baba Yaga, an errand from which the gentle girl has little chance of returning alive. "An engaging text and accomplished paintings set this version apart....A stylized and classy offeri ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 19th 1994 by HarperCollins
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,425)
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NS-Lisa Skrzypczynski
Marianna Mayer’s Russian version of Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, is a fascinating rendition of the tale of Cinderella. Vasilisa is a beautiful young woman who lives with her hideously cruel stepmother and stepsisters. Vasilisa’s stepmother sends Vasilisa to Baba Yaga’s house to get candles, knowing that Baba Yaga is a horrifying witch who enjoys devouring the people she comes across. Baba Yaga gives Vasilisa impossible tasks to finish. If Vasilisa does not finish her tasks, she will end up ...more
Morgan Renae
After reading Cinderella, and being utterly enchanted by K.Y. Craft's illustrations, I decided to get every other picture book of hers from my library. Turns out, they only had 4/8 (counting Cinderella). Thankfully, picture books are short, so I can probably just read the rest of them at the bookstore. (and will be coaxed into buying them because of the art. curse you, k.y.!!)

The story aspect of this book was a lot better than Cinderella's was. Despite it being only 40 or so pages long, it had s
A Russian version of the Cinderella tale, this one finds Vasilisa being sent to Baba Yaga's bone house to fetch a candle. Vasilisa takes the doll her real mother made for her, to whom she has whispered all her secrets while growing up. Baba Yaga knows who Vasilisa is and who her step-mother is and tells Vasilisa if she cleans and cooks and separates the wheat from the chaff, she will spare her life for one day. Vasilisa and her doll complete the tasks and the next day Baba Yaga sets another impo ...more
Mar 17, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This book is a retelling of a Russian folktale. It's reminiscent of Cinderella and the story is so rich with morality, love, magic, and danger that it is a perfect example of a fairy tale. I loved the gorgeous illustrations; Kinuko Y. Craft has an amazing way to weave the true personality of the characters into her pictures. Baba Yaga is frightening, but wise; Vasilia's stepmother is beautiful, but cold-hearted.

We really enjoyed reading this story together. I've noticed that there are several bo
Баба Яга is one of my favorite "children's" stories. For people unfamiliar, Baba Yaga stories are the slavic version of the Grimm Fairy Tales. So, even though we read them to children, they are really symbolic of struggles that adults have in every day life.

Yes, I read Alison Baba Yaga and Vasilisa dozens of times as she was growing up. This story is very much like Hansel and Gretel but, with little, cultural twists that make the stories very slavic.

You may not want to own it,(I do) but you shou
Cierra Garrison
Personal reaction: I chose this book because of it's relation to Cinderella. I was curious how much they would differ/be the same. Some differences are that the Cinderella character, named Vasilisa's mother died when she was 8 years old and left her with a magic doll, the character of Baba Yaga who is described as "A witch who ate people like others ate chicken", the various tasks Vasilisa was to complete. This version of Cinderella is most definitely a lot darker and scarier than the version mo ...more
Cassie Olds-benton
This version of Baba Yaga and Vasilisa is like Cinderella that it has the evil step-mother and her two daughters who treat her cruely, however that is all. Vasilisa is sent to Baba Yaga's very scary hut deep in the dark forest by her step-mother, because rarely does anyone return alive. But Vasilisa is protected by a little doll and together they outwit Baba Yaga to return home unharmed. The illustrations are Beautiful, but look out for the one of Baba Yaga herself! It is pretty scary looking fo ...more
Be warned, Baba Yaga kind of scared me!
This is an adaptation of traditional Russian folk/fairy-tale for readers aged 6-10. It is a good way to introduce Russian culture to American children. The illustrations are like realistic paintings that capture all the qualities of the characters in this classic good versus evil morality legend. It may be a bit "dark" for some children-- I would worry about it causing nightmares for some kids. It follows the brave and beautiful Vasilisa, who is left in the care of a cruel stepmother (similar th ...more
An absolutely beautiful picture book, a version of the Cinderella story, but with a far braver and more active heroine than Cinders. Baba Yaga is a cruel witch who is in many Eastern European stories; she lives in a house made of bones and in some stories travels in a pestle and mortar rather than on a broom.

The jewel-coloured and highly detailed illustrations make this a really special book; one to treasure, and would be a great resource for Primary teachers. I would use this as a resource to
This is an interesting read. I picked it out because of the cover illustration and others I had seen online and other than being a fairy tale I did not know what to expect. This is not a light fairy tale, but more like the violent and scary ones that you come across in classics. I had never read nor heard of this one before. While it starts in a very similar manner of Cinderella, there are so many more elements to it before she gets her prince. The illustrations are lovely, and the appropriate o ...more
Kris Underwood
This is a children's book, but holy crap. The illustrations are insanely scary-well, the ones of Baba Yaga and her hut. It creeped me out bad. No telling what it would do to a 6 year old. It's basically a re-telling of the Cinderella story.The illustrations are awesome. Very detailed, lush illustrations in that distinctive Russian design. Vasalisa and Baba Yaga are an eastern european story/myth. I've read a few stories on both of them (and actually heard some from family when growing up), but t ...more
Megan B
I got this book because I liked another book done by the same author and because it was Russian-themed. The pictures terrified my kids; we didn't even get through the first few pages together. Let's just say that the story started with a cannibalistic forest witch who makes her fence railing from human bones, the obligatory wicked stepmother and stepsisters, and went downhill from there. I finished the book on my own and it never got better, it actually got slightly worse. Glowing skulls, murder ...more
Melissa Mcavoy
A gorgeous version of the tale. Vasilisa is essentially a Russian Cinderella. In this story she must enter the massively creepy home of Baba Yaga and deal with the witch. The scary elements of the story make it more appropriate for, and more interesting to, children 8 and up. While Vasilisa doesn't have a fairy godmother, she does have the gift of her mother's love, personified in a hand made doll. An intriguing and satisfying take on a classic story. In this version the mother's love and Vasili ...more
Scott Whitney
A very beautiful Cinderella story from the Russian tradition.
Suburban Homeschooler
Must get more books with this illustrator! Beautiful.
The illustrations are *fantastic*.
This book is chock-full of all the classic (and stereotypical) elements of a fairy tale: a girl in danger, and evil (and ugly)witch woman, a stepmother . . . .hard for me to get behind a book that perpetuates negative messages like that. The illustrations have amazing detail.

I was assigned a version of this story in my high school drama class; we "competed" for the honor of reading a story to kids. Many years later, I'm not sure I'd choose to read this book to young kids. Pretty scary.
Another version of Cinderella is what came to my mind when I read the description of this story. The pictures are vivid and descriptive. The clothing, and evil things that are included in the stories' illustrations make the book worth while! A story of a young woman whose only companion is a doll that her mother made her before she passed away lives with her stepmom and evil sisters. She's sent on a journey to Baba Yaga's house, and uses her wit and companion to outsmart her!
My 9 yr. old was fascinated by this story. Pretty scary pictures of Baba Yaga was probably the cause of that. And the lighted skulls. And the grisly end to the wicked characters (not Baba Yaga). Anyway, far more like a true Grimm tale, not at all as pleasant as Disney's fairy tales, which is why I liked it so much. The pictures were fabulous by the way. It made me want to read Enchanted by Orson Scott Card again.
The pictures of Baba Yaga are a little scary (we'll see if my kids wake me up with nightmares tonight), but beautiful. For the first 98% of it, the story is great, focussing on Vasilisa's steadfast equanimity and kindness in the face of unkindness. I wish it had ended with her living and working with her adoptive mother rather than going on to be a Cinderella marry-the-prince (or in the case, marry-the-tsar) story.
Dark, detailed and delightfully distasteful, this splendid version of the gruesome Russian Cinderella folktale has thrilled and enthralled our girls for years.

You can listen in on our chat about this book on our Just One More Book! Children's Book Podcast.
This is one of the most beautifully illustrated children's books I have ever read. The story is serious and engaging and imparts a great lesson. The illustration is pure art. I am careful about which picture books I purchase because it is easy to want to buy too many. This, book, however, is a must own.
This is a beautiful rendition of the story. The artwork is amazing. The main picture on each page is incredibly detailed and realistic while the side pictures are stylized artwork. Yes, the story is terrible and Baba Yaga is one scary creature, but who said Russian Folk Tales were sweet?
Russian version of Cinderella; Baba Yaga doesn't chase Vasilisa in this version and punishes the stepmother and stepsisters; gripping, suspenseful storytelling

themes: Baba Yaga, Cinderella, doll, fairytale, Russia, step-family, witch
Kathy Blose
Jul 18, 2008 Kathy Blose rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all young girls who love fairy tales
Wonderful telling of an old Russian fairy tale. Baba Yaga is the famous witch whose house runs around on chicken legs.
Vasilisa is unfraid of the witch and bravely faces the tests the witch makes her go through.

Kathy in Las Vegas
Torben is too young to appreciate this book now, but I want to keep a record of it & read it to him when he's a little older. The illustrations are beautiful and I enjoyed seeing the Russian influence in the artwork.
A stunningly beautiful book. I picked this up not long after I'd thoroughly devoured Estés's "Women who run with the wolves" which discusses this story. Read 'em together and see what you think.
Joy Preble's Anastasia series sparked my interest in the tales of Baba Yaga and then browsing the library kid shelves I found this pretty illustrated version. Nice work, K Y Craft!
A six-year-old and I enjoyed this book again together, it's been a while since we first read it. I've always loved Baba Yaga stories and this one has exceptional illustrations.
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Marianna Mayer lives in Roxbury, Connecticut.
"I see folktales and myths as humankind's first stories," says Marianna Mayer. "They are a kind of collective dreaming, filled with timeless symbols and images we can all relate to, regardless of age or culture. And, much as an oyster must be disturbed by a grain of sand in order for the pearl to be created, I often choose to retell stories in which I
More about Marianna Mayer...
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