Baba Yaga’s Assistant

By: Marika McCoola

Illustrator: Emily Carroll

Young Masha is looking for an adventure, and that’s just what she finds when she agrees to work for Baba Yaga, the fearsome witch of Russian folklore. Sketches. Full-color illustrations.

ISBN: 9780763669614

JLG Release: Oct 2015


Sensitive Areas: No sensitive areas
Topics: Graphic novels , Russian folklore , Witches , Jobs

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Grades 5-8

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Awards & Honors

SLJ’s Top Graphic Novels 2015
Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of 2015, Middle-Grade
Amazon.com Best Books of the Year 2015, Ages 9–12
ALA Notable Books for Children 2016, Older Readers
Chicago Public Library Best Books of 2015, Fiction for Older Readers
100 Notable Titles for Reading and Sharing 2015, Children’s Books
2015 Cybils Awards Nomination, Graphic Novels Elementary / Middle
YALSA 2016 Great Graphic Novels for Teens
2016 Eisner Award Nomination, Kids
ILA Children’s Choices, 2016 Reading List
Children’s Book Committee Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of 2016, Fantasy

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books*, The Horn Book Magazine, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews*, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

School Library Journal

Masha is less than thrilled when her widower father announces he is going to remarry. The last thing she wants is a stepmother and stepsister. All she can think of are the tales her grandmother would tell her, filled with evil stepmothers and the terrible trickster, Baba Yaga. With emotions running high and feeling unwanted by her father, Masha dec Masha is less than thrilled when her widower father announces he is going to remarry. The last thing she wants is a stepmother and stepsister. All she can think of are the tales her grandmother would tell her, filled with evil stepmothers and the terrible trickster, Baba Yaga. With emotions running high and feeling unwanted by her father, Masha decides to respond to the following ad: “ASSISTANT WANTED ASAP: 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.” Not knowing what to expect, but feeling that nothing can be as bad as her situation at home, she heads into the forest. The events that follow help Masha find the strength to survive and endure Baby Yaga’s tests and the courage to face what is waiting back home for her. Upper elementary readers will enjoy how the illustrations create a moody and mysterious creepiness surrounding Baba Yaga. The characters are expressively drawn, adding drama to the story. Masha’s tween angst will resonate as she copes with her new family situation. VERDICT This title will find a home with fans of R. L. Stine’s “Goosebumps” (Scholastic) and Luke Pearson’s “Hilda” graphic novel series (Nobrow).—Carol Hirsche, Provo City Library, UT

Horn Book

Enter a modern world in which Baba Yaga exists, no questions asked. After Masha’s beloved grandmother dies and her widowed father plans to remarry, Masha answers a help-wanted ad to become assistant to the mortar-and-pestleriding, child-eating folkloric character. To win the position, Masha must creatively accomplish challenges set forth by B Enter a modern world in which Baba Yaga exists, no questions asked. After Masha’s beloved grandmother dies and her widowed father plans to remarry, Masha answers a help-wanted ad to become assistant to the mortar-and-pestleriding, child-eating folkloric character. To win the position, Masha must creatively accomplish challenges set forth by Baba Yaga, including gaining entrance to and then cleaning her chicken-legged abode. Drawing on lessons learned through her grandmother’s stories as well as a streak of her own inherited magical ability, Masha completes each task and begins to realize that her family’s connections to the witch are more complex than previously revealed. Comprised of short chapters, this graphic novel shines in its pacing, harmony of image and text, and use of flashbacks and stories-within-stories to advance plot. With vivid coloring, Carroll’s digital art establishes setting and tone. Rhythmic omniscient narration and ornate panel borders for the flashback scenes spotlight the story’s Russian folkloric roots. Baba Yaga is depicted as frightening but occasionally endearing; tension builds as she unexpectedly materializes in and out of scenes, sneakily peeking over windowsills and hidden within forest scenery. Sketches in the back matter inform readers of Carroll’s creative process. elisa gall

Book Details

ISBN

9780763669614

First Release

October 2015

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

Trim Size

6" x 8 1/2"

Page Count

136

Accelerated Reader

Level 2.8; Points: 1;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 0; Points: 0;

Lexile

Level GN340L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Candlewick

Potentially Sensitive Areas

No sensitive areas

Topics

Graphic novels, Russian folklore, Witches, Jobs,

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Cover Art

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