Grandma Chickenlegs

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Overview

Tatia knows she should follow her dying mother's advice and stay away fromGrandma Chickenlegs. But when her cruel stepmother orders her to visit the old witch, Tatia must obey. Bravely, she sets out through the woods, with her dear doll, Drooga, as her only companion. Once inside the witch's cottage--a rickety shack that stands on chicken leg--Tatia is guarded by the witch's dog, cat, and a magic elm tree.Grandma Chickenlegs clearly has terrible plans for her. To escape the witch, Tatia must be courageous and ...
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Overview

Tatia knows she should follow her dying mother's advice and stay away fromGrandma Chickenlegs. But when her cruel stepmother orders her to visit the old witch, Tatia must obey. Bravely, she sets out through the woods, with her dear doll, Drooga, as her only companion. Once inside the witch's cottage--a rickety shack that stands on chicken leg--Tatia is guarded by the witch's dog, cat, and a magic elm tree.Grandma Chickenlegs clearly has terrible plans for her. To escape the witch, Tatia must be courageous and clever, and she must rely on the kindness of friends. Moira Kemp's dramatic illustrations, sensitive and funny, make this a classic picture book to be treasured by readers of all ages.

In this variation of the traditional Baba Yaga story, a young girl must rely on the advice of her dead mother and her special doll when her wicked stepmother sends her to get a needle from Grandma Chickenlegs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This spirited retelling of a classic Russian folktale about the witch Baba Yaga fairly vibrates with vigorous images. A heartless stepmother who has "eyes as sharp as needles and a soul as thin as a thread" orders sweet Tatia to borrow a needle from Grandma Chickenlegs, certain she is sending Tatia to her death. But through kindness and a little magic, Tatia escapes Grandma Chickenlegs's fearsome clutches. McCaughrean's (The Golden Hoard) language is refreshingly original. The witch's front door, for example, "swung on its hinges, squealing like a thing in pain"; the house itself is a "rickety-rackety shack" that runs around the garden atop "four scratching, paltry poultry legs." Kemp's (the Helpful Betty books) colored pencil illustrations skate perilously close to garish in places and don't live up to the promise of the cover art--a wonderfully outrageous image in shades of orange and chartreuse of two scrawny legs encased in striped stockings and a pair of flagrantly ugly lace-up shoes. But the interior art, too, is larded with witty touches: Grandma's iron-fanged dentures sit in a cup on the nightstand, fabric on her loom bears a broom motif, a chimney cap takes the shape of a witch's hat. Rollicking fun from start to finish. Ages 5-8. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
PW called this retelling of a classic Russian folktale about the witch Baba Yaga "rollicking fun from start to finish." Ages 3-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-A droll and utterly delightful retelling of "Baba Yaga," the Russian folklore equivalent of Cinderella. McCaughrean has changed the names but the plot details remain largely the same. After Tatia's mother dies, her father marries a vain and selfish woman with two daughters. While he is away, the stepmother sends Tatia to the witch Grandma Chickenlegs on the ruse of borrowing a needle. But rather than becoming the witch's dinner as the stepmother had hoped, the child's kindness results in her escape. Once home, she finds that her father has returned. He sends his wife and her daughters away and the two live happily ever after. With its emphasis on description and imagery, McCaughrean's text retains much of the flavor of traditional folklore. But as strong as the text is, it is Kemp's full-page colored-pencil illustrations that steal the show. Using a style that is a pleasing mix of realism and impressionism, the artist captures the fantasy inherent in the tale. With their vivid greens, reds, oranges, and blues, the lively art jumps off the page. The depictions of Grandma Chickenlegs are particularly marvelous. With her bouffant hair, bat eyeglasses, and striped stockings, this witch is more comic than threatening. Unlike other picture-book versions of this tale-Marianna Mayer's Baba Yaga & Vasilisa the Brave Morrow, 1994 comes to mind-this one is ideally suited for younger children.-Denise Anton Wright, Alliance Library System, Bloomington, IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The familiar tale of a child surviving a visit to Baba Yaga's chicken-legged abode has never been told with more gusto. Dispatched on an errand to dreaded Grandma Chickenlegs's house by her cruel stepmother ("a woman with eyes as sharp as needles and a soul as thin as a thread"), young Tatia escapes the witch three times, due to magic help and the advice of her beloved doll, Drooga. Using twisted perspectives and vigorously applied colors, Kemp creates a set of wild, garishly lit climactic scenes dominated by the grimacing, green-skinned granny—perfect counterpart to McCaughrean's colorful prose style: "Around the garden, on four scratching, paltry poultry legs ran the rickety-rackety shack. Its fence was made from rattly bones." Reunited in the end with her long-absent father, Tatia blows off her mother's dying advice to "give and forgive," triumphantly turning stepmother and stepsisters out on the street in their underclothes. This is a rousing alternative to Nonny Hogrogian's subdued Vasilisa the Beautiful (1970) or Mariana Mayer's coldly elegant Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave (1994). (Picture book/folklore. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575054155
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Series: Picture Books Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2008

    A great book for all ages

    Grandma Chicken Legs is one of the greatest picture books I have ever read.It's for children,adults and more.You'll enjoy it. I know I did.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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