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Baba Yaga's Assistant

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  6,431 ratings  ·  822 reviews
Must have skills in hauling, obeying orders, cooking, and cleaning. Magical talent a bonus. Must be good with heights. Enter Baba Yaga's house to apply.

Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, t
Hardcover, 132 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,431 ratings  ·  822 reviews

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Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic, ya
All this time Masha thought her father was burying his grief for his dead wife in work, so she forgave him for never spending any time at home. But when she finds out that he has actually been romancing a new woman and that she's getting not only a step-mother but a brat of a stepsister -- well, suddenly that want-ad for living in the forest with an evil witch sounds rather appealing. ...more
Dave Schaafsma
I put this on my list because one of my favorite illustrators and horror storytellers, Emily Carroll, illustrated this, a first book by Marika McCoola that draws on an ancient myth about Baba Yaga, a baby-eating witch. A girl, not really feeling at home in her Dad's new family, applies to become Baba Yaga's assistant. I like the ending, which surprises me a bit. I like the art though like it less well than some other Carroll projects, and wasn't all that engaged with the story. ...more
Book Riot Community
This wonderful graphic novel is about a young girl named Masha whose father has become very distant since her mother died. When the father announces he has a new girlfriend, who has children of her own, Masha takes off into the woods. There she meets Baba Yaga, the Russian witch, and attempts to meet each of her challenges in order to become her assistant.

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Dov Zeller
This book is fairly clunky and puppy-ish (awkward? almost feels like an early draft of something) and for at least the first half, doesn't quite come together. I love, though, that it is trying to bring folklore into the present moment. And that it values the resourcefulness of the protagonist and presents Baba Yaga as a delightfully complex character.

The reason I am giving it four stars (oh rating systems, how ambivalent I feel when you are near) is because it does something that I rarely find
Nusrat Mahmood
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like this. This is like I was reliving my childhood fairy tales again. I forgot the name but a renowned writer of Bangladesh, Humayun Ahmed wrote a story about a witch who is thought to be evil but in real life she is not. This book reminds me of that short story.

That House of Baba Yaga's is thug. I want a house like that.
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.

Baba Yaga is perhaps the most famous witch outside of Oz. If it, then she is tied with the White Queen from Narnia. She is old, ugly, tough as nails in boots, and doesn’t take crap from anyone. All that said, to call her evil isn’t quite right. She is, to a degree; I mean she has a taste for young flesh, but there is something about her that defies easy classification. Even when comparing her cannibalistic urges to the witch from “Hansel and Gretel”, Baba Yaga seem
Cameron Chaney
This was pretty good. As a big fan of Emily Carroll's work on Through the Woods, I had high hopes for this one. And I wasn't let down by her artwork here. It is simply beautiful to look at, not to mention creepy. I give a big 5 stars to the art!

In terms of the story... well, it isn't quite on par with Emily Carroll's storytelling in Through the Woods, probably because Emily didn't write this story. She just illustrated it. It just felt too short to me, and the solutions the main character came u
The story fell a little flat, but I did like Baba Yaga's portrayal. Scary but not entirely unreasonable. ...more
Melanie (TBR and Beyond)
Nice, quick read. I love stories having to do with Baba Yaga. It was def worth the read. I'm giving it 3.5 stars.

Full review to come.
Jackie "the Librarian"
A fun modern retelling of Baba Yaga stories, with just a little bit of Cinderella thrown in as the framing story. Ever since Masha's mother died, her father has been distant. Masha longs for attention, and is hurt to find out he's been spending time with others.
Seeing an ad for an assistant for the legendary witch, Baba Yaga, who Masha knows from her grandmother's stories, she decides to go where she may actually be wanted. taking with her her grandmother's matryoshka dolls and her ingenuity.
Bam cooks the books ;-)
#2015-Reading-Challenge-Group--week 42: a graphic novel. A new reading experience for me...and fitting for the Halloween season! I quite enjoyed this ya tale, which brings the Baba Yaga story into the modern era. The witch advertises for an assistant and Masha, a young teenager whose home life is in upheaval, decides to apply. Masha must pass several tests to get the job and shows lots of ingenuity while learning a few of life's lessons along the way. Lovely graphics. ...more
Jessica Haider
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Middle Grade Graphic novel: Quick, fun, modern fairy tale...

Baba Yaga is from Russian folklore and is witch who flies around at night looking for children to steal and EAT. In this story, Masha is upset that her father is getting remarried so goes off to seek a new like as Baba Yaga's assistant.

What to listen to while reading...
Russian folk music!

Melissa Chung
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a cute story. I loved the illustrations. 4 stars!

This story is about Masha a girl who had lost her mother at an early age. She was raised by her grandmother. Her grandmother told her lots of stories of Baba Yaga and other fairy tales. In the Baba Yaga stories Masha's grandmother told her all about her adventures while she stuck with the witch.

When Masha is a (teen?) her father decides to remarry. Although the new woman seems nice, her soon to be sister is a monster. Masha dec
Kayla Leitschuh
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book had an interesting modern take on the traditional Baba Yaga story.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Not as good as I expected it to be, given that it's a Baba Yaga story, but not bad. Masha and her new stepsister-to-be are having a hard time adjusting to each other, so Masha runs away to answer Baba Yaga's ad for an assistant. When Baba Yaga decides to test her, Masha is ordered to cook her new stepsister. What will she do? Baba Yaga is depicted here as an evil old woman with a tiny bit of heart. Masha is brave and clever and doesn't let the witch scare her, especially since she's read all the ...more
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-books
The way the story was told was interesting with some touches of Baba Yaga's tale associated with the main story and with Masha's memories. The magic was entertaining and I also appreciated Masha's various interactions with Baba Yaga and her creatures. The memories were warm and sad at the same time, adding a sweet dimension to the story and the art. Sadly, the family time wasn't as pleasant to read, what happened annoyed me, but it worked with the story and I liked the ending. On the art side, e ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, fantasy
A delightful remix of many classic Baba Yaga fairy tales in a modern setting. Masha is a teen girl who has experienced a lot of loss: her mother died when she was a child, and her beloved grandmother died a year ago. When her father announces his plans to re-marry, Masha is full of mixed feelings. Meeting her new step mom and aggressive brat of a little step-sister is painful enough that Masha decides to head into the woods to find Baba Yaga... who recently published a personal ad in a local pap ...more
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this graphic novel. It's adorable, the art easy to follow, I love the contemporary setting and the interspersed fairy tales. Possibly my favorite graphic novel to date.

A magical story about a girl finding her place in the world!

I was thinking it would be only about Baba Yaga and her new assistant, as that is what the title and the blurb implies. Let me tell you this, it is indeed about that, but also about so much more. It is about families, about mourning, about death, about finding a place you belong, yes, the book made me sad, it made me happy, it made me feel a whole lot. The pieces with Baba Yaga were terrific and I loved to find out more about Baba Yaga
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
A good middle grade fantasy featuring the incredibly cool Russian witch Baba Yaga. She's my absolute favorite wicked witch, and McCoola obviously feels the same way. She incorporates a lot of different Baba Yaga stories. So what kept this from being great for me? For one, I felt like her concept of Baba Yaga was a little confused. I think she wanted to make her be an ultimately benevolent force to help young girls grow, but that isn't really compatible with the folklore she draws so heavily on. ...more
Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)
Finished this clever little graphic novel in one sitting! Meant for middle grade readers, the story (a take on the Russian folklore tales about a witch named Baba Yaga) is spooky and poignant enough for adult readers to enjoy. The illustrations were also wonderful.

More like a 3.5
Oct 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Actual rating 3.5

Review to come.
Andi M.
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Re-read this one with my son at the beginning of summer 2018 and loved it even more than the first time.

Don't expect the same old witch story. More ambiguous than most but in a great way.
Villain E
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, specfic-comics, ya
The phrase "A Modern Fairytale" seems cliché, but how else would you describe this? Set in modern times, a teenage girl named Masha's father is getting remarried. The stepmother isn't wicked but the stepsister is a little terror as some young children with issues can be. Baba Yaga posts an ad in the paper for an assistant. Instead of getting kidnapped, Masha seeks Babs Yaga out. Instead of escaping, she has to try to get into the house. Then, following some of the old stories, she performs tasks ...more
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics, i-own-this
Really disappointing!

I'm certainly not the intended audience although I've enjoyed most of Emily Carroll's books. This one is definitely meant for younger peeps. The art isn't nearly as creepy as her other books and the characters all have that typical YA graphic novel look. Smooth, rounded... only the Baba Yaga looked menacing. Even the chicken leg house and a wild bear Masha runs into were pretty tame.

The story started off strong. I felt really bad for the main character Masha. Her mom died wh
Melissa Carter
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Magic and whimsy ✅
Dark side of fairytales ✅
Pure unadulterated wholesomeness and kicking me right in the feels✅✅

Adult fans of Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy will LOVE this young reader graphic novel. I read it to my for year old daughter and she loved it. It showcases Russian folklore in such a beautiful and accessible way for all ages.
Lizzy Seitz
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.25 out of 5 stars

The art was great. The story is super similar to Baba Yaga but just enough different that it’s enjoyable! I read this because I just spent a semester focusing on Baba Yaga and wanted more
Intisar Khanani
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun read. It could have used a little more nuance / complexity, especially in the resolution. But overall, quite enjoyable.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
this was so so good!! I loved the storyline and the art style, and of course the ending.
josh sorensen
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
a nice-core masterpiece. help :') ...more
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Marika McCoola has an MA in writing for children from Simmons College and is a former children’s book buyer at an independent bookstore in Massachusetts. Baba Yaga’s Assistant marks her publishing debut. She lives in Massachusetts.

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