Firebird
  • Firebird
  • Firebird

Firebird

by Saviour Pirotta, Catherine Hyde
     
 

"In the shadow of King Vaslav’s Palace was a marvelous garden, and in the middle of that garden stood a tree that grew apples of solid gold, each one as dazzling as the sun."

Someone is stealing the king’s famous golden apples, and the culprit must be found. The palace gardener spots the luminous Firebird snatching the apples in the

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Overview

"In the shadow of King Vaslav’s Palace was a marvelous garden, and in the middle of that garden stood a tree that grew apples of solid gold, each one as dazzling as the sun."

Someone is stealing the king’s famous golden apples, and the culprit must be found. The palace gardener spots the luminous Firebird snatching the apples in the night. The king’s two oldest sons are sent to capture it but fail. So Ivan, the youngest son, must go on the dangerous quest, befriending a gray wolf, winning both the Firebird and the heart of the beautiful Princess Helen. Saviour Pirotta’s powerful retelling of this classic folktale plumbs the heart of human fears, courage, and love.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In this version of the classic Russian folktale, the bird with feathers of fire is stealing the golden apples from King Vaslav's tree. The king offers a reward for catching him. After Prince Dmitri and Prince Vasili fail, young Prince Ivan, considered foolish, grabs the bird but is left with only a feather. Again the king offers a reward for the capture. And again the two older princes give up and Ivan proceeds. With the help of Gray Wolf, he successfully completes three difficult quests. The last concerns the rescue of Princess Helen. The two fall in love, for a happy ending for them and the firebird. Impressionistic acrylic painting sometimes fill double pages with a romantic aura made more so by areas of gold and copper foil. The visual legend is enhanced by images that offer suggestion rather than explication. As portrayed on the back of the jacket, which differs from the cover, the princess is depicted with just a few lines, while the bird is fully feathered, with shimmering golden highlights. Both are set on a black background amid plant forms and the apples. Until the striking final scene of fiery redness symbolizing the bird's freedom, the scenes are mainly set in black with the characters emerging into action. A note fills in background of the firebird story, noting the hundredth anniversary of the Russian ballet. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Large and lavish, this handsome presentation builds nicely on European folktale elements to tell of King Vaslav's youngest son winning the heart of the princess, half the kingdom, and ownership of the fabulous bird. Though the book cover invites readers to "celebrate 100 years of the world-famous Russian ballet," the story is quite different from that of the ballet's hapless archer. In an endnote, Pirotta comments broadly on the varied appearances of the bird of fire in world folklore, but never acknowledges the sources from which he has drawn them. His adroit telling suggests Russian origins. The three princes—Dimitri, Vasili, and Ivan—try in turn to capture the fiery intruder that comes at night to feed on the golden-skinned apples in the king's orchard. The traditional pattern of three continues, and Ivan is aided by a magical Gray Wolf in the rounds of his quest. Hyde's acrylic paintings are soft in focus and deep with luminous portrayals of the featured animals and dusky views of the nighttime and woodland journeys. The book's expansive layout nicely varies the use of white space and painting size. Earlier picture-book renderings and those in collections seem to vary considerably in telling this tale. The misleading plug for the ballet aside, this one is well constructed with a satisfying fairy-tale mix of human frailty and greed, magical intervention, and just deserts—a welcome choice for storytelling and reading aloud.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Kirkus Reviews
The 1910 Paris production of The Firebird by Diaghilev's Ballet Russe electrified Europe with its brilliant weave of storytelling, music and performance. Motifs from Russian folklore of a quest, an enchantment and an evil sorcerer melded with Stravinsky's atonal score for a ballet that still remains in the established repertory of companies in one form or another. This title celebrates that centennial. The full-page acrylic paintings dominate the book with their atmospheric, nighttime settings and elegant gold lines. The text is straightforward, with little embellishment, and relates how Prince Ivan, the youngest son, finds his true love with the help of a golden feather from a firebird and a shape-changing grey wolf. The evil sorcerer, Kastchei, a dramatic character in the ballet, is not part of this story. Remarkably, the author keeps the many steps to marriage moving along in succinct succession, but a more romantic or flowery touch would have been welcome, given that romantic love is its focus. (author's note) (Picture book/folktale. 4-7)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763650766
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
10/12/2010
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 12.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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