Monday, July 19, 2010

Babushka Baba Yaga

Babushka Baba Yaga is my mother's new favorite children's book.  When we were growing up she stayed home and homeschooled all four of us through middle school.  Now that we are all grown, she's a substitute teacher.  For her birthday this year Luke and I bought her a copy so she won't have to check it out from the library anymore.  And we took it to her at church last week - where we promptly forced her to sit down and read it out loud to us. 



Luke didn't make it into the picture, but he was there too and got to see me and my sister nerd nerd out over an absolutely amazing children's book.  And yeah, we got a few strange looks from some church members - but they were probably just jealous that their grown kids aren't cool enough to ask their mom to read picture books to them in public places.  It turns out that my mother's taste is, as always, impeccable and she has discovered a brilliant and beautiful picture book. 

It's the story of the Baba Yaga - an old witch who lives in the woods and according to legend eats children.  Only the Baba Yaga loves children and has always wanted a grandchild of her own.  So she disguises herself as a babushka and adopts a single mother and little boy.  I won't spoil the book, but the story beautifully illustrates the lesson that people shouldn't be judged by what you've heard about them or how they look.  We laughed.  We cried.  It was magical.  This is my favorite illustration from the book:

I don't have kids yet, but I'm already planning a purchase of this one.  And it turns out that the author's story is just as sweet.  She is dyslexic and made it to the age of fourteen without really ever learning to read.  She finally had a teacher who realized that she couldn't read and who taught her the joy of books.  Thank You Mr. Falker is the autobiographical story of how she learned to read and the teacher who taught her.  Check out her website (http://www.patriciapolacco.com/) and by all means read Babushka Baba Yaga! 

Growing up loving to read, for me, was all about the experiences I had being read to as a child by my mother.  My sweet Mama introduced me to Billy and Blaze, Anne Shirley, Narnia, and Corduroy and taught me to love the written word.  My question for readers is...Were you read to as a child?  Is there something or someone in your life that influenced your love for books?

3 comments:

  1. I can see the resemblance between you and your sister.

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  2. Just found your blog and I'm thoroughly enjoying it! As a book loving family I treasure moments snuggling with my children and just reading! My mother always read to us, as did my grandmother. Neither my father nor my grandfather could read very well - but they both would sit down with a book and at least try to read to us - making up the story as they would go. That right there installed a love of reading and books for me!
    My children area all avid readers! Heading to the library today in fact! Might have to pick up a couple of Polacco's for our upcoming weekend trip!

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  3. There is a great piece of music that describes the Hut of Baba-Yaga. It's called Pictures at an Exhibition by Modeste Mussorgsky. It's one of my favorite classical songs ever. You might want to check it out.

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