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Baba Yaga's Assistant

Baba Yaga's Assistant

Book - 2015 | First edition
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"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, that magic is fickle, that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. The fearsome witch of folklore needs an assistant, and Masha needs an adventure. She may be clever enough to enter Baba Yaga's house-on-chicken-legs, but within its walls, deceit is the rule. To earn her place, Masha must pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear, and make dinner for her host. No easy task, with children on the menu!"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2015
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780763669614
Branch Call Number: JG BABA
Characteristics: 125 pages : color illustrations ; 23 cm
Additional Contributors: Carroll, Emily - Illustrator


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JCLChrisK May 11, 2020

A lightly spooky tale about a girl who thinks she has enough knowledge and cleverness to win over Russia's most legendary witch. Lots of fun.

JCLHebahA Oct 29, 2019

This was a great little Halloween read--just the right blend of menacing atmosphere and uncertainty and resourceful heroine to navigate it. It also blends the old-school scariness of Baba Yaga with contemporary issues of blending families and grief. I want to read more adventures in this world!

Jan 11, 2018

Baba Yaga eats children. She is deceitful and wicked. Her sentient house strides around the countryside on giant chicken legs. Stories like these have been told for a long time [based on Slavic folk literature].

There’s always another side to the story.

Our story begins with a help wanted ad:


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.

Well, that’s reasonably straightforward as these things go. But this is Baba Yaga. Deceit is the rule.

Masha’s circumstances are dire and she has some family history so off she goes. Are the stories accurate, can she remember them, what exactly are these tests? Can Masha outwit Baba Yaga as her grandmother did?

Find out in this great adaptation of Baba Yaga. The artwork is wonderful and exceedingly colorful, especially for being in many ways a dark story.

How can a story with a sentient house that moves around on two giant chicken legs not be intriguing? The enigmatic witch is just a bonus. Highly recommended.

GeeksInTheLibrary Oct 17, 2017

A modern re-imagining of the classic Russian folktales featuring the terrible witch in her chicken-legged hut and a young girl bound to her service. A spooky story for readers who like heroes who can overcome anything.

Mark_Daly Aug 15, 2017

As an introduction to Baba Yaga, this is pretty great. However, I think the heroine is drawn as a teenager, making her a little too old for the part. This lessens the drama somehow.

May 12, 2017

This starts as a story of grief and mourning, but brings in the magic and trickery of Baba Yaga. It's absolutely delightful.

The art is as you'd expect from Emily Carroll - lovely and creepy.

Apr 23, 2017

Lovely twist on the fairy tale genre. Both myself and my 11 yr old son loved this little graphic novel and reference the plot and art still a couple months after reading.

Aug 08, 2016

I would have rated this higher if it didn't feel like half a story. There are so many threads left hanging when the story is over and none really got fleshed out. This could have been epic if not for the questions upon questions the reader is left with. This kinda feels like a story a child would tell, because very little thought actually goes into the details. The artwork is great, and if you know the tales of Baba Yaga you will see a lot of mention of them here. However, if you do not know who Baba Yaga is, then most of this will go right over your head, which is a shame. Worth a read, but not destined to be a classic.

Jul 31, 2016

Thoroughly enjoyed the "Masha"-up of fairy tales and Baba Yaga folktales. The main character is a young woman who's father is so out of touch with her, he's engaged to a woman he's yet to introduce to his daughter! Understandably, Masha decides to seek a better way (now that the loving grandmother who raised her has died) and answers a help-wanted ad. This story is obviously about family, love, fitting in, seeing one's own strengths, but it's also about stories and memory and the thin line between reality and fiction.

May 16, 2016

Masha’s father hasn’t been there for her, not since the death of Masha’s mother long ago, or the recent loss of the grandmother who raised her. Now he’s marrying a woman he hasn’t even introduced to Masha previously. Not okay! So Masha answers an ad to become Baba Yaga’s assistant. Armed with the stories her grandmother told her about the witch, she sets out to pass the tests she’s given as part of the job… without betraying her own conscience. Masha is smart and capable, which makes sense given she’s been basically alone for quite some time. (I really don’t like her dad, can you tell?)

The book blends Masha’s current trials with memories of her past. She’s trying to find her own place in the world, since her old one is gone. Some of the flashbacks are profoundly sad, but the overall feeling of the book is of Masha getting her feet under her. Carroll’s cartooning is skilled, handling the changes from past to present well. There is no happy reunion here, though Masha does talk to her father once more. But it’s her time to move forward. Really enjoyed this one.

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Dec 08, 2020

pink_dog_14589 thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

multcolib_susannel Aug 16, 2015

multcolib_susannel thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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GeeksInTheLibrary Oct 17, 2017

A modern re-imagining of the classic Russian folktales featuring the terrible witch in her chicken-legged hut and a young girl bound to her service. A spooky story for readers who like heroes who can overcome anything.


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