The Magic Babushka

Overview

Nadia longs to create beautifully decorated Easter eggs, called pysanky, but the intricate patterns are too difficult for her weak eyes. When she rescues a magical old woman, she is rewarded with a handkerchief that makes her imagined designs real. Now Nadia can create pysanky, but how can she prove to an angry tsarina that the designs are her own?

A gentle, nearsighted peasant girl rescues the legendary Baba Babochka and is rewarded with a magic babushka that ...

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Overview

Nadia longs to create beautifully decorated Easter eggs, called pysanky, but the intricate patterns are too difficult for her weak eyes. When she rescues a magical old woman, she is rewarded with a handkerchief that makes her imagined designs real. Now Nadia can create pysanky, but how can she prove to an angry tsarina that the designs are her own?

A gentle, nearsighted peasant girl rescues the legendary Baba Babochka and is rewarded with a magic babushka that enables her to create beautiful "pysanky," or decorated eggs.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Dia L. Michels
Nadia wants to make beautifully decorated Easter eggs, called "pysanky," but the detailed artwork is too difficult for her weak eyes. Nadia despairs, until one day she rescues Baba Babochka, the ancient butterfly woman. "Lovely girl... I will reward you with one wish... choose wisely," warns Baba Babochka. Excited, Nadia wishes that the pysanky she imagined were real. The old woman grants her wish and gives her a magic babushka, or scarf-but magic gifts are never what they seem. The delightful illustrations detail the artwork of pysansky, as intricate as they are colorful. Lovingly told, this is a warm story where the child learns to rely on her inner gifts to fulfill her dreams.
Children's Literature
When the Tsarina Zoyanna, Ruler of Russia, announces that the girl who creates the most exquisitely painted eggs (pysanky) will win the special prize, the young girl Nadia feels sad because she knows that her own eyes are much too weak to draw the intricate patterns that she has imagined in her mind. However, things change for Nadia when she saves Baba Babochka, the legendary, magical butterfly woman from the poisonous spider. When Baba Babochka grants Nadia a single wish, Nadia hastily wishes that the pysanky that she imagines are real. Baba gives Nadia a Magic Babushka (headscarf) that will turn her plain white eggs into beautiful pysanky. When the deceptive Tsarevich steals Nadia's pysanky and carries them back to his aunt, the Tsarina of Russia, she orders Nadia to come to the palace and paint more eggs. Nadia wonders "what good was the magic babushka if she could not use its magic?" With help again from the wise Baba Babochka and a little mouse, Nadia realizes that she had the answer to her problem all along. A powerful combination of great storytelling and beautiful illustrations, this story frames every picture in an intricate design that comes from the designs of the pysanky. With bright and colorful illustrations, Phyllis Limbacher Tildes does a stupendous job of conveying the emotions of the characters and depicting the countryside of Russia. This book also teaches many Russian words that Tildes translates for the reader in the back of the book. 1998, Charlesbridge Publishing,
— Kristi Bayne
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4Nadia longs to make the intricately decorated eggs called pysanky but the fine detail work is too much for her weak eyes. An encounter with the magical butterfly woman, Baba Babochka, results in the young woman being given a magical kerchief, or babushka, with the warning that she reveal her gift to no one. With it, she is able to transform plain white eggs into elaborately decorated ones that gain the attention of the Tsarina, and she is summoned to the palace to produce pysanky on demand. Once again, Baba Babochka comes to the rescue, and Nadia is finally able to make beautiful eggs on her own. This picture book contains common folkloric motifs but it lacks the elemental power and resonance of traditional stories and effective literary folktales. Tildes explains too much, and the eventual marriage of Nadia and the prince seems contrived. The full-page watercolor-and-gouache illustrations suggest the colors and designs of pysanky in the bright red, blue, and orange the artist uses in her illustrations and in the detailed border designs. However, she is less successful at depicting human features. All of the characters have large eyes, wide bulbous noses, bushy eyebrows, and full lips. Patricia Polacco's Rechenka's Eggs (Putnam, 1988) and Nina's Treasures (Hyperion, 1994) by Stefan Czernecki and Timothy Rhodes use the pysanky tradition as a central plot element more successfully.Denise Anton Wright, Alliance Library System, Bloomington, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580892254
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2009
  • Edition description: New
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,457,808
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Phyllis Limbacher Tildes is the author/illustrator of ANIMALS IN CAMOUFLAGE, BABY ANIMALS BLACK AND WHITE, as well as the illustrator of APPLES and PUMPKINS. She lives in Savannah, Georgia.

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