I have read many Russian folktales during my time, but I rarely read Russian folktales that involved the legendary fictional figure, Baba Y
I have read many Russian folktales during my time, but I rarely read Russian folktales that involved the legendary fictional figure, Baba Yaga. So, when found a children’s book that starred Baba Yaga called “Baba Yaga and the Wise Doll” by Hiawyn Oram along with illustrations by Ruth Brown, while I was impressed that the illustrations were well done and the characters Baba Yaga and the wise doll were interesting, the story kind of felt a bit flat for me.
The book starts off with Baba Yaga looking into her many ways mirror to take a look at three girls who are named Horrid, Very Horrid and Too Nice. Horrid and Very Horrid always made fun of Too Nice and one day, they would not let Too Nice play with them and threw her out of the house. The only way that Too Nice can come back inside the house is if she goes to Baba Yaga’s house and gets one of her toads that wear a jeweled jacket and a diamond collar. Luckily, Too Nice has a wise doll that was a gift from her mother and the wise doll would give Too Nice some good advice to survive in the world. When Too Nice finally comes to Baba Yaga’s house, Baba Yaga makes Too Nice do various tasks and if Too Nice passes her tasks, then Baba Yaga will give Too Nice anything she wants. But if Too Nice fails the tasks, then Baba Yaga will feed Too Nice to her toads and her black cauldron!
Can Too Nice pass Baba Yaga’s tests?
Read this book to find out!
Hiawyn Oram has done a good job at portraying Baba Yaga as this frightening yet reasonable character who does some horrifying stuff such as feeding people to her toads and black cauldron, but is willing to give Too Nice a chance to obtain her toads as long as Too Nice performs her tasks well. I also loved the way that Hiawyn Oram portrayed the wise doll as the wise doll was the most interesting part of the story, next to Baba Yaga herself and I loved the way that the wise doll helped Too Nice by making its shadow do most of the tasks set out by Baba Yaga which gives the story a mysterious and creative edge. Ruth Brown’s artwork is truly gorgeous, especially of the images of Baba Yaga, her toads and her black cauldron. I loved the way that Baba Yaga was drawn as having greenish skin and wild black hair that makes her look so frightening. I also loved the fact that her toads were drawn with jeweled jackets and diamond necklaces as it makes them look regal and yet since they belong to Baba Yaga, we know that they are truly revolting.
The reason why I gave this book a three and a half star rating was because even though the illustrations were gorgeous, the story felt a bit flat because the characters were not develop enough where I was interested in them and there were many plot holes in this story that made me scratch my head a bit about how one situation transitioned to another situation. For example, I was puzzled about why Baba Yaga wanted to mess with Too Nice and her sisters rather than some other random person and why the sisters wanted Too Nice to get a toad from Baba Yaga in the first place.
Overall, while “Baba Yaga and the Wise Doll” had interesting characters in both Baba Yaga and the Wise Doll and the illustrations were gorgeous to look at, the story felt a little flat due to the lack of characterization of Too Nice and her sisters and the many plot holes in the story. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since smaller children might be frightened of Baba Yaga and her toads.
Now I must admit. I have heard about Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel a couple of times from fellow comic book readers, but I had never re
Now I must admit. I have heard about Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel a couple of times from fellow comic book readers, but I had never really read a comic book about Captain Marvel before and therefore, I do not know much about her character (other than the fact that she had a rivalry with Rogue from the X-Men, due to Rogue stealing her powers and putting her in a coma). So, when I heard that Marvel was making a “Ms. Marvel” series that would have a protagonist who was of Muslim background, I was seriously excited at the prospect of having a diverse superhero in the Marvel Universe!
What is this story about?
Kamala Khan was your average teenage girl who happens to live in Jersey City and comes from a Muslim family. One day however, a mysterious mist overcomes Jersey City and Kamala soon finds herself obtaining powers such as stretching her limbs out to unbelievable lengths and shapeshifting into different forms. Unfortunately, not only does Kamala have a hard time controlling her newfound powers, but she suffers from an identity crisis as she tries to figure out what kind of superhero she wants to be: a superhero that is exactly like Captain Marvel or a superhero where she can express her true personality and beliefs through her newfound powers?
What I loved about this story:
G. Willow Wilson’s writing: I will admit that this is the first time that I had ever read a comic book by G. Willow Wilson (or this could possibly be her first comic book), so I was interested to see what kind of new storylines G. Willow Wilson could bring to the Marvel Universe. Lo and behold, I was pleasantly surprised by G. Willow Wilson’s witty and emotional writing of Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel! I loved the way that G. Willow Wilson wrote Kamala Khan’s character as Kamala is shown as being a spunky girl who wants to be a superhero, but she is not sure of what kind of superhero she should be and I loved the fact that this issue is explored and how it affects Kamala throughout the story. I also loved the fact that this story is extremely lighthearted with some intense moments here and there as it gives the story so much depth regarding the characters and it is nice to have a superhero series that has a light tone that could resonate with the readers. I also think that G. Willow Wilson did an excellent job at not making Kamala’s Muslim background into something stereotypical, but into something that makes Kamala unique in her own way and it was great seeing what Muslim culture is like within a superhero community as it gives more diversity to the story since it is rare that we see Middle Eastern superheroes being portrayed in superhero comic books.
Adrian Alphona’s artwork: Adrian Alphona’s artwork is both gorgeous and hilarious to look at as the characters are drawn realistically and there are some panels where the characters’ skins glow against sunlight and moonlight and gives their appearances a mesmerizing feel. I also loved the way that Adrian Alphona drew the humorous expressions on the characters whenever they are shocked or scared as it made the artwork into something unique as you have both comedic and dramatic artwork within the same story.
What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:
For anyone who does not like language in comic books, this graphic novel does have some language such as the constant use of the “p” word, but other than that, this graphic novel is pretty tame compared to some of the darker and grittier superhero comic books.
Overall, “Ms. Marvel Volume One: No Normal” is truly one of the most creative and inspiring stories I had ever read from Marvel NOW and I am definitely looking forward to reading more adventures from the new and different “Ms. Marvel!”
Even though there has been like a million retellings of “Cinderella” done already, I do recall one version of the tale that was quite unique as it had
Even though there has been like a million retellings of “Cinderella” done already, I do recall one version of the tale that was quite unique as it had the “Cinderella” character running away from home and dancing with the prince of the story in disguise and that version came from a fairy tale called “Cap O’ Rushes.” So, imagine my surprise when I found out that there was a Jewish version of this tale called “The Way Meat Loves Salt” by Nina Jaffe along with illustrations by Louise August and I was pleasantly surprised by this brilliant version of the classic fairy tale!
Many years ago in the country of Poland, there lived a rabbi who had a wife and three daughters. The names of the three daughters were Reyzeleh, the oldest, Khaveleh, the middle daughter and Mireleh, the youngest. One day, the rabbi wanted to know how much each of his daughters loved him and he decided to ask each of them how they felt about him.
Reyzeleh answered, “I love you as much as diamonds.”
Khaveleh answered, “I love you as much as gold and silver.”
And Mireleh answered, “I love you the way meat loves salt.”
When the rabbi heard Mireleh’s answer, he was so enraged that he kicked Mireleh out of his house. Mireleh then wonders through the forest crying when suddenly, an old man dressed in a white robe showed up carrying a tall silver staff in one hand and a wooden stick in the other hand. The old man then tells Mireleh that she should go to the house of Rabbi Yitskhok ben Levi, the renowned scholar of Lublin and that he has a wife and son that could take care of her. When Mireleh goes to the house, the family took her in and let her stay in their attic. One day however, a wedding feast was being held in Cracow and Rabbi Yitskhok’s family decided to go to the wedding feast, but they let Mireleh stay at home. Mireleh wanted to go to the wedding, but she realized that she did not have the proper attire to attend the wedding. So, she used the magic stick that the old man gave her and she was able to make a beautiful dress appear out of thin air! When Mireleh arrived at the wedding, the guests were astonished by her appearance and Rabbi Yitskhok’s son immediately took interest in her and wanted to know everything about her. But, Mireleh kept quiet and did not tell the rabbi’s son anything about herself. As soon as the wedding feast was over, the rabbi’s son wanted to know more about the mysterious girl who came to the wedding and he decided to put some tar and pitch out in the front of his house to wait for the mysterious girl to arrive. When Mireleh came back to the house, she ended up getting one of her shoes stuck in the tar pitch and she had to leave without the other shoe. The rabbi’s son then picked up the shoe and declared that whoever fits the shoe will be his bride.
Will the Rabbi’s son find the woman who fits the shoe?
Read this book to find out!
Nina Jaffe’s writing is beautifully written as she does a brilliant job at retelling this ancient old version of “Cinderella” and incorporating Jewish customs into the story that makes it stand out from other folktales. I loved the way that Nina Jaffe incorporated the Jewish traditions in this story such as the groom stepping on the wine glass during the marriage ceremony as we get to learn more about Jewish culture through this story and how they define the characters. I also loved the fact that this story takes place in Poland since it is rare that I read children’s books that take place in Poland and it gives the story an extremely unique feel. Nina Jaffe did an excellent job at bringing out the theme of true love in this story as Mireleh, the main protagonist, is unfairly thrown out of her own home just because she stated that she loved her father as much as “meat loves salt.” While it takes most of the story for the father to figure out what Mireleh’s statement really meant, it was intriguing to me that Mireleh would make such an odd statement about her love for her father and yet, it still meant that she truly loves her father, even if the statement “meat loves salt” sounded a bit odd to both her father and the reader (unless you think about that statement really hard). Louise August’s artwork is beautiful and cute to look at as all the characters are drawn in a cute way and I really loved the Polish outfits that the characters wear such as the large dresses with the aprons that the female characters wear and the polo jackets and baggy trousers that the male characters wear.
Parents should know that the core part of this story is that the father ends up kicking his own daughter out of his home due to his daughter’s odd comment about how much she loves him. This could upset some readers as it hits closely home to children who were forcibly put out of their own homes by their parents or have dealt with parents who were abusive towards them. Parents might want to reassure their children that while such abuse can happen in real life, they should let their children know that they will always love them no matter what happens.
Overall, “The Way Meat Loves Salt” is a beautiful story about what true love really is and the importance of family no matter what kind of differences you may have with each other. I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the Jewish terms might be a bit confusing for some smaller readers and the scene of the daughter being kicked out of her home might upset some children.
Now, I have been reading the “Anansi” series ever since I was little and I was always so amazed at the gorgeous artwork and the hilarious writing in e
Now, I have been reading the “Anansi” series ever since I was little and I was always so amazed at the gorgeous artwork and the hilarious writing in each book! So, when I stumbled upon another “Anansi” story that was written by Eric A. Kimmel along with illustrations by Janet Stevens, I was pleasantly surprised by how this story turned out to be as entertaining as the previous “Anansi” stories!
The story starts off with Anansi looking down on Elephant’s melon patch from the trees and he wanted to have a melon. But since Anansi was always too lazy to do any work, he decided to wait until Elephant went off on break to eat a melon. So after Elephant left the melon patch, Anansi took a thorn from a tree and started digging a hole inside the melon to jump inside and eat the melon from the inside out. Once Anansi was done eating inside the melon, he tried to get out from inside the melon, but he become too fat to get out and he had to wait until he got thin again. Elephant then comes back to the melon patch and picks up the melon that Anansi was inside of and Anansi decided to play a little trick on Elephant by pretending to be the melon and successfully convinces Elephant that the melon is really talking. Elephant is so excited about this development that he decided to tell his friends and the king about the talking melon.
Will the King be impressed by the talking melon or will he realize that it is Anansi playing this trick?
Read this book to find out!
Wow! I must admit that I was quite surprised that I have not read this book yet since I have been reading the “Anansi” series ever since I was a child! Eric A. Kimmel has once again done an excellent job at writing this story as the story is highly creative and hilarious at the same time and I really loved the scenes where Anansi tricks the other animals into thinking that the melon is actually talking to them. I like the fact that in this story, Anansi does not actually steal anything like he did in the previous book “Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock” since it makes him into a less amoral character (although he still did dig inside one of the Elephant’s melons without Elephant’s permission) and the fact that he is just playing tricks on Elephant and the other animals just for the fun of it, makes him less malicious in nature. Janet Stevens’ artwork is as usual gorgeous to look at and I loved the way that Janet Stevens is able to convey the emotions on the characters’ faces, especially whenever the melon seems to insult each animal character and you get to see the animals’ angry expressions really close up.
Overall, “Anansi and the Talking Melon” is a truly hilarious book that is another great addition to Eric A. Kimmel and Janet Stevens’ “Anansi” series! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.
Another fantastic volume of “Saga” from the great mind of Brian K. Vaughan? You bet I will check this new vol
OH YEAH BABY!
Another fantastic volume of “Saga” from the great mind of Brian K. Vaughan? You bet I will check this new volume out as soon as it was released and I was seriously blown away by this action packed volume! “Saga: Volume Five” is another awesome installment of Brian K. Vaughan’s legendary comic book series that is definitely worth its weight in gold!
What is this story about?
After the disastrous falling out between Marko and Alana in the previous volume, Alana, Marko’s mother and Hazel find themselves being kidnapped by Dengo, the janitor robot who kidnapped Prince Robot IV’s newborn baby in the last volume. This then leads to Marko being forced to work with Prince Robot IV in order to find their missing families. Meanwhile, Gwendolyn, Sophie and The Will’s sister The Brand, set out on a journey together to retrieve a cure that will help save The Will’s life, but the journey is going to be pretty dangerous for the three (four if we are including the Lying Cat) travelers!
What I loved about this story:
Brian K. Vaughan’s writing: As usual, Brian K. Vaughan’s writing is spot on and I really loved the fact that this volume was much more action driven then the previous volumes, which were mostly character driven and we actually get to see several characters really kicking some serious butt in this volume! I just loved the way that Brian K. Vaughan really made Alana into such an awesome fighter in this volume as it was hinted at early on that Alana used to be in the military and we finally get the chance to see Alana’s combat skills displayed in this volume, especially when she tries to protect her daughter Hazel from various people who want to harm her. I also loved the fact that Marko is still trying to find Alana and Hazel again as it showed how much he really cared about his family, despite his fight with Alana in the last volume. It was also heartbreaking learning about Marko’s backstory and why him accidentally hurting Alana had such a tragic impact on him and how he tries to make amends for what he had done to Alana. I really enjoyed the side story involving Gwendolyn, Sophie, the Lying Cat and the Brand trying to find a cure for the Will, who was injured a few volumes ago. I really loved the relationship between these four travelers as it shows that they all cared about the Will in their own way and are willing to work together to obtain the cure needed to help the Will. The only thing that got me about this volume was that I did not see one single appearance from my favorite ghost girl Izabel…OH IZABEL! WHERE ARE YOU!?
Fiona Staples’ artwork: Fiona Staples’ artwork is as usual gorgeous to look at and I really loved the action sequences as you can see the explosions really glow through the pages (which is something I often see with this series all the time) and I really loved the alien appearances of many of the characters, especially of Prince Robot IV with his TV set head!
What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:
For anyone who does not like strong language, gory violence and graphic images, there are many scenes in this volume where characters are blown up and blood and guts are sprayed all over and some strong language such as the constant use of the “f” word and the “a” word. Also, there is some nudity in this volume, as well as some sex scenes that might make some people cringe.
Overall, is “Saga: Volume Five” worth picking up? YES! YES IT IS! Go ahead and pick up this sucker already and be amazed by the wonderful world of “Saga!”