Rechenka's Eggs

Rechenka's Eggs

4.7 4
by Patricia Polacco

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Babushka, known for her exquisite hand-painted eggs, finds Rechenka, a wounded goose, and takes her home. When she's ready to try her wings again, Rechenka accidentally breaks all of Babushka's lovingly crafted eggs. But the next morning Babushka awakens to a miraculous surprise. Full color.


Babushka, known for her exquisite hand-painted eggs, finds Rechenka, a wounded goose, and takes her home. When she's ready to try her wings again, Rechenka accidentally breaks all of Babushka's lovingly crafted eggs. But the next morning Babushka awakens to a miraculous surprise. Full color.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An old woman named Babushka always wins first prize in the Easter festival for her exquisitely painted Ukrainian eggs. When she finds a wounded goose outside her house, Babushka takes her in, cares for her until she is strong again, and names her Rechenka. The goose lays an egg each morning for the old woman, but as she begins to heal, she flies around, knocking over Babushka's jars of colored paints and breaking all her Easter eggs. Babushka is miserable, until Rechenka miraculously lays brilliantly colored eggs; the old woman wins first prize once more. Polacco's story is truly rewarding; Babushka's gift for coloring eggs comes across in a splendid array of folkloric patterns, minute detail and batik-like paintings. Babushka is given credit, but the artistry is Polacco's. Intricate designs and opulent colors shade every page, right down to the onion-shaped domes and peasants' festival garments. Ages 4-8. (April)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Babushka lived alone, and spent the long cold days and evenings of winter creating beautifully decorated eggs. One day she finds a injured goose and brings into into her home. Rechenka, the goose is nursed back to good health, but as she grows stronger she accidently destroys alll of the beautiful handpainted eggs prepared for the Spring festival. Babushka goes to bed devastated, but the next morning, the goose lays a beautifully decorated egg and does so for the next twelve days. At the festival in Moskva, Babushka wins first prize for her eggs and heads home with a new feather quilt. In her heart she is a bit said, knowing that it is time for Rechenka to join her flock. But a surprise awaits and it brings joy and companionship to Babushka. The book was a winner of the International Reading Association Children's Book Award.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3 Babushka, a kindly, stout old woman, lives in a little house in the country near pre-revolutionary Moscow. She is renowned for the gorgeous Easter eggs that she paints so painstakingly during the long, cold winters and brings to the Easter festival in Moscow. As she is feeding hungry caribou one day, she rescues a wounded goose, names her Rechenka, and tenderly nurses her back to health. While exploring the cottage, Rechenka accidentally smashes Babushka's eggs and subsequently lays 12 beautifully decorated new ones to replace them. While Babushka is in Moscow winning a prize, the goose flies away, but she leaves one last egg in her basket. From it a gosling hatches that becomes Babushka's companion. The writing has a slightly mannered, fairy tale quality. It reads aloud well and is filled with love for the natural and sweetly supernatural miracles which take place. Vivid, extremely decorative paintings enhance and amplify the text. The intricate, colorful patterns of the Ukrainian-style Easter eggs are echoed in areas such as dresses, snowflakes, rugs, and city spires, giving joyous and vigorous life to the illustrations. As a contrast, the faces of Babushka and her friends are done in realistic, gently-caricatured black and white. Patricia Pearl, First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, Va.

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.75(w) x 11.25(h) x 0.38(d)
AD780L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

"I was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1944. Soon after my birth I lived in Williamston, Michigan and then moved onto my grandparents farm in Union City, Michigan.

"I lived on the farm with my mom and Grandparents until 1949. That is when my Babushka (my grandmother) died and we prepared to move away from Michigan. I must say that living on that little farm with them was the most magical time of my life...and that my Babushka and other grandparents were some of the most inspirational people in my life.

"My parents were divorced when I was 3, and both my father and mother moved back into the homes of their parents. I spent the school year with my mother, and the summers with my dad. In both households I was the apple of my grandparents' eyes! I would say that these relationships with my grandparents have most definitely influenced my life and my work. You probably have noticed that in almost every book that I write there is a very young person who is interacting with an elderly person. Personally, I feel that this is the most valuable experience of my life....having the wonder of knowing both children and elderly people.

"The respect that I learned as a very young person certainly carried over into my life in later years. I have always like hearing stories from these folks. My genuine curiosity for the wonder of living a very long life prepared me to accept the declining years of my own parents.

"To get back to the farm in Union City...this place was so magical to me that I have never forgotten it! This was the place where I heard such wonderful stories told...this was the place that a real meteor fell into our font yard...that very meteorite is now our family headstone in the graveyard here in Union City.

"Did I tell you that I now live in Union City? This is after living in Oakland, California for almost 37 years. But, you see, every year I'd come back to Michigan to see my Dad and family.


"In 1949 we left the farm to move, first to Coral Gables, Florida. I lived there with my Mom and my brother, Richard, for almost 3 years. Then we moved to Oakland, California. I remained there for most of my young life on into my adulthood. We lived on Ocean View Drive in the Rockridge District. What I loved the most about this neighborhood is that all of my neighbors came in as many colors, ideas and religions as there are people on the planet. How lucky I was to know so many people that were so different and yet so much alike.

"It is on Ocean View that I met my best friend, Stewart Grinnell Washington. We are best friends to this day! He has a younger brother, Winston and three sisters; Jackie, Terry and Robin. When I was a student in elementary school I wasn't a very good student. I had a terrible time with reading and math. As a matter of fact, I did not learn how to read until I was almost 14 years old. Can you imagine what it was like to see all my friends do so well in school and I wasn't! I thought I was dumb. I didn't like school because there was this boy that always teased me and made me feel even dumber. When I was fourteen, it was learned that I have a learning disability. It is called dyslexia. I felt trapped in a body that wouldn't do what everybody else could do. That was when one of my hero's, my teacher, found what was wrong with me and got me the help I needed to succeed in school. Of course, now that I am an adult, I realize that being learning disabled does not mean DUMB AT ALL! As a matter of fact, I have learned that being learning disabled only means that I cannot learn the way most of you do. As a matter of fact, most learning disabled children are actually GENIUSES! Once I learned how to read and caught up with the rest of my fellow students, I did very well.

"I went on to University, majored in Fine Art, then went on to do a graduate degree and even ended up with a Ph.D. in Art History. For a time I restored ancient pieces of art for museums. I eventually became the mother of two children, Steven and Traci, and devoted much of my days to their education and upbringing.

"I did not start writing children's books until I was 41 years old. Mind you the "art" has always been there for me most of my life. Apparently one of the symptoms of my disability in academics is the ability of draw very, very well. So drawing, painting and sculpture has always been a part of my life even before I started illustrating my books. The books were quite a surprise, really. Mind you, I came from a family of incredible storytellers. My mother's people were from the Ukraine and father's people were from Ireland. My extended family,(Stewart's family) were from the bayous of Louisiana...also great story tellers. When you are raised on HEARING stories.....NOT SEEING THEM, you become very good at telling stories yourself. So at the age of 41 I started putting stories that I told down on paper and did drawings to help illustrate them...I guess the rest is history.

"I have enjoyed a wonderful career of writing books for children . Who could have guessed that little girl that was having such a tough time in school would end up an illustrator and author. Children and adults alike ask me where I get my ideas...I get them from the same place that you do....MY IMAGINATION... I would guess the reason my imagination is so fertile is because I came from storytelling and, WE DID NOT OWN A T.V.!!!!!!!!! You see, when one is a writer, actor, dancer, musician; a creator of any kind, he or she does these things because they listen to that "voice" inside of them. All of us have that "voice". It is where all inspired thoughts come from....but when you have electronic screens in front, of you, speaking that voice for you... it DROWNS OUT THE VOICE! When I talk to children and aspiring writers, I always ask them to listen to the voice, turn off the T.V. and


"Now that I have moved back to Union City I am intending to open my house and community and invite people to come there to take part in writing seminars, story telling festivals, literature conferences and various events that celebrate children's literature."

Born Patricia Ann Barber in Lansing, Michigan, to parents of Russian and Ukrainian descent on one side and Irish on the other, Patricia Polacco grew up in both California and Michigan. Her school year was spent in Oakland, California, and summers in her beloved Michigan. She describes her family members as marvelous storytellers. "My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists.... With each retelling our stories gain a little more Umph!"

Studying in the United States and Australia, Patricia Polacco has earned an M.F.A. and a Ph. D. in art history, specializing in Russian and Greek painting, and iconographic history. She is a museum consultant on the restoration of icons. As a participant in many citizen exchange programs for writers and illustrators, Patricia Polacco has traveled extensively in Russia as well as other former Soviet republics. She continues to support programs that encourage Russo-American friendships and understanding. She is also deeply involved in inner-city projects here in the U.S. that promote the peaceful resolution of conflict and encourage art and literacy programs.

The mother of a grown son and a daughter, Patricia Polacco currently resides in Michigan, where she has a glorious old farm that was built during the time of Lincoln.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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Rechenka's Eggs 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great. I loved the way the eggs looked when Rechenka layed them. I also learned a lot of things from this book like Babushka means grandmother and how you can put two on both sides of an egg and blow the yolk. Rechenka was just what a lonely woman needed. This book taught me a lot about friendship. I loved it! I recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Merideth50 More than 1 year ago
This book was featured on an episode of Reading Rainbow. They also highlighted Polacco actually crafting beautiful Ukranian Easter Eggs.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was a child and I absolutely loved it. I can't believe I remember it even now!