Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave

by Marianna Mayer

Other authorsKinuko Craft (Illustrator), K.Y. Craft (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1994



Local notes

398.21 May




HarperCollins (1994), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 40 pages. $16.00.


A retelling of the old Russian fairy tale in which beautiful Vasilisa uses the help of her doll to escape from the clutches of the witch Baba Yaga, who in turn sets in motion the events which lead to the once ill-treated girl's marrying the tzar.


Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 1996)

Original publication date


Physical description

40 p.; 11.26 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member mcivalleri
This traditional Russian story was fun. Being used to the more sanitized "Cinderella" story, it was fun reading this one, where there were witches with skulls and even murder! The words used paint a vivid picture, and during the cold dark time in the forest, the way it was described gave me
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chills...and the pictures of Baba Yaga are great in their terribleness! I like it, a nd would have it in a school library.
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LibraryThing member hnebeker
I know that this story is also considered macabre by today's standards and I can see why parents wouldn't want them in an elementary school library, however, I don't think that they are any worse than Grimm's fairytales or even Hans Christian Anderson. I also think they are an important
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representation of our storytelling history. I was read a baba yaga & Vasillisa story as a child and loved it. I was not able to find that specific one but instead discovered that there is a series of these Russian folk tales.
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LibraryThing member Di_M
My grandmother used to tell me the story of the Baba Yaga when I was a little girl and I found it fascinating, along with other Russian folk tales. A fascinating story that started me thinking about life and people from a very young age. Now that I think of it now, It's very philosophical and
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thought provoking. This particular version is well written and the artwork beautiful.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
This gorgeous adaptation of a traditional Russian fairy-tale is the third collaboration between Marianna Mayer and Kinuko Craft, who worked together previously on Pegasus and The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It follows the adventures of the beautiful and brave young Vasilisa, who is left
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(Cinderella-like) in the care of a cruel stepmother. When Vasilisa is ordered to the house of the witch Baba Yaga, the only thing that stands between her and a terrible fate is her own goodness, and the love of her long-dead mother, embodied by a magical doll.

One of the great figures of Russian folklore, Baba Yaga the witch is a multi-faceted character. Part forest spirit and part-wise-woman, she is sometimes portrayed as a baby-eating witch, and sometimes as a helpful mentor to the hero or heroine. But whatever her role, she is always terrible to behold and dangerous to approach. Craft, who is always at her best when painting the sinister, does not disappoint, and her Baba Yaga is a masterpiece of eerie horror. A depiction made all the more powerful by its juxtaposition with her paintings of the beautiful Vasilisa.

This tale was originally collected by the Russian folklorist Alexander Afanasiev, and Mayer's narrative follows the original story quite faithfully, with the notable exception of the title, which has been changed from Vasilisa the Beautiful to Vasilisa the Brave. As always, I wish that the author and publisher attributed the tale to its source.
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LibraryThing member hbcoates
Classic Russian folktale: Vasilisa mistreated, sent on a dangerous errand/task by stepmother, must face the ancient, terrible Baba Yaga, but in the end, is adopted by kind, elderly woman. AMAZING ILLUSTRATIONS!




(41 ratings; 4.1)
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