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Posted May 21, 2012
Posted October 27, 2011
Posted August 26, 2009
Classic Folklore with Beautiful Illustrations
Just before she dies, Katya's grandmother gives her a special gift to help her make her way in the world, a matryoshka or Russian nesting doll. Each figure in the matryoshka helps Katya to break the spell of a handsome young prince that has been turned to ice by the wicked Grand Vizier. When the magic from the dolls has been used up, Katya uses the magic of love to thaw the prince's heart.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
This is classic storytelling combined with detailed color illustrations to make a unique picture book.If you like fairy tales and folklore you will love this book! Share this book with others who are interested in Russian crafts or with collectors of nesting dolls.
I have only found one other picture book about the Russian nesting dolls and that is "The Littlest Matryoshka" by Corrine Demas.
Posted August 10, 2009
The Magic Nesting Doll (Russian Fairtale)
This fairytale was a favorite at our summer camp on Russia. It is a reversal of the sleeping beauty motif in fairytales. In this story the girl is brave and rescues the sleeping prince. Wonderfully illustrated. How the landscape changes, Russian landscape slowly thawing as the prince thaws. She is helped by a bear, a wolf and a phoenix. The children loved the repetition of how each character says of her predicament 'well it looks ok to me' (as a den) but off they go on their adventure.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 28, 2007
Lavishly illustrated - beautiful tale!
A child I was nannying found this book in the library, and even her older siblings were enchanted as I read it to her again and again. We ultimately renewed the book three times! I could not wait for my own daughter, a few years on, to be old enough to enjoy it. Now she is enthralled with the story and also captivated by the incredible, traditional-style illustrations, which capture the old Russia of my imagination perfectly. Do not miss this chance to read this story to your children - girls will love that the hero is a girl '!' and boys will love the power of the animals which help her in her quest! Marvellous!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 18, 2001
A Russian Role Reversal Tale of Sleeping Beauty
In Sleeping Beauty, the young woman is enchanted and lies in a death-like sleep until awakened by love's first kiss. In The Magic Nesting Doll, it is the Russian prince, the Tsarevitch, instead who has been charmed into an icy block by his uncle, the Grand Vizier. A peasant girl, Katya, hears of his fate and moves Heaven and Earth to save him. If you love the story of Sleeping Beauty, you will, if you are like me, love this book as well. Katya has been reared by her grandmother at the edge of the forest. Before she dies, Katya's grandmother gives her a nesting doll, a matryoshka, and tells Katya the doll has magic powers. 'If your need is great, open the doll and help will come.' Katya can only do this three times, however. 'After that, the magic will be gone.' She is told though, 'Keep the doll and remember me.' Soon after her grandmother dies, Katya finds that the world is gripped by an icy hand. The sun, moon, and stars are all gone. An innkeeper tells her about the frozen Prince, and she makes her way to his side. The Grand Vizier does his best to deflect Katya, but with the help of her doll, Katyia is unstoppable. I appreciate stories like this one because they take familiar fairy tales of human loss and love, and allow females to play the heroine's role. In too many of our classic stories, the males are the 'good guys' and some woman is portrayed as the source of evil. In real life, people of both sexes probably have equal potential for good and questionable behavior. A story like this one makes that point without being too obvious about it. The book also rings deep within me like the allegories of tales about spring, and the reawakening of the Earth. In legends and myths, women are often portrayed in the role of bringing life back again . . . so Katya's role as Earth Mother seems appropriate. The book also uses references to animals that are important in Russian folk lore such as bears, wolves, and fire birds. This makes a connection to Russian thmes in a way so that when you see Russian ballets, this story will come to mind. And this story will remind you of the ballets, if you know them already. The nesting doll is an interesting metaphor for the idea of coming closer to your real self, as well. That psychological reference will be understood implicitly by many, even if they cannot articulate it. This book is wonderfully improved by the illustrations. They are primarily done in a style reminiscent of Art Deco, but with an oriental patterning and detail that make them richer. You will be reminded of stained glass. With vivid colors and strong contrasts, the conflicts in the story are enhanced and strengthened. This is one of the most appropriately illustrated childrens' book that I have ever seen. Well done, Ms. Laurel Long! But, to me, the greatest part of this book is that for all of its magical references, it relies on the character and intuition of Katya for its power. This is a wonderful statement about the personal power that we all have hidden within us, like the normally covered nesting dolls. After you have finished enjoying this story with your child or grandchild, I suggest that you talkWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.