The Little Humpbacked Horse: A Russian Tale

Overview

A young peasant, with the help of his faithful and magical humpbacked horse, captures magical beasts, marries the beautiful Tsarevna and becomes the Tsar of Russia.

A young peasant, with the help of his faithful horse, captures magical beasts, marries the woman he loves, and becomes Tsar of Russia.

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Overview

A young peasant, with the help of his faithful and magical humpbacked horse, captures magical beasts, marries the beautiful Tsarevna and becomes the Tsar of Russia.

A young peasant, with the help of his faithful horse, captures magical beasts, marries the woman he loves, and becomes Tsar of Russia.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Winthrop pairs the conventions and cadences of a traditional tale with passages that are rich with poetic images . . . Koshkin's paintings in watercolor, tempera, and gouache are a perfect match, providing the ornate patterns and symmetrical compositions of folk art." School Library Journal, Starred
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Winthrop and Koshkin (Vasilissa the Beautiful) import another Russian folktale to superb effect. Winthrop retains the traditional feel of the story while using a pace and vernacular ("snuck," for example) comfortable to modern readers. Koshkin's densely patterned and intensely colored watercolor, tempera and gouache paintings achieve a fresh yet classic Russian folktale ambiance. When a peasant's unpromising youngest son, Ivan, frees a golden-maned mare, it rewards him with two handsome stallions and a little humpbacked horse-the real treasure. The little horse guides the guileless Ivan through the seemingly impossible tasks set him by the Tsar. Although Ivan lacks the cleverness of his ruthless brothers and the scheming courtiers, it is he who succeeds the Tsar and marries the beautiful princess. Koshkin's closely cropped paintings have a lavishly decorative quality, but also convey the affection between Ivan and his horse and the cold pettiness of the courtiers. This homely, misshapen little horse is capable of taking readers for quite a ride. Ages 6-10. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
In a book that is happily graced by Koshkin's elegant artwork, Winthrop retells a classic Russian folktale of a simple boy embarking on a hero's journey with a magical helpmate. The tale has many charming features-the young lad himself, the Tsarevna who knows her own mind, the affinity between the youngest underdog son and the littlest horse. It is marred, fortunately in only a few places, by redundancy of phrase.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4A heartwarming tale that explores the nature of true wisdom and friendship. Two older brothers, three courtiers, and even the Tsar himself attempt to outsmart young Ivan, whom everyone considers a simpleton. But Ivan proves to be a match for these challengers. Solving the mystery of the missing hay at home brings the gift of a humpbacked horse to the boyan animal with special powers and the gift of human speech. It is the tiny beast who helps Ivan through the impossible tasks that the greedy ruler sets before himincluding capturing the beautiful Tsarevna. Through a trick orchestrated by the Tsarevna and aided by the little horse, Ivan outwits (and eliminates) the Tsar and takes his well-earned place on the throne. Winthrop pairs the conventions and cadences of a traditional tale with passages that are rich with poetic images, making this a good choice for reading aloud. Koshkin's paintings in watercolor, tempera, and gouache are a perfect match, providing the ornate patterns and symmetrical compositions of folk art. Listeners used to being considered young and simple will revel in this story of a friendship that turns the tables and reveals the wisdom of youth.Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395653616
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/17/1997
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 980L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexander Koshkin has illustrated several books for Clarion. He lives in Moscow, Russia.

Elizabeth Winthrop is the author of over 40 books for children, from picture books to YA novels, including her Clarion titles, THE LITTLE HUMPBACKED HORSE and AS THE CROW FLIES. Her book for Holiday House, CASTLE IN THE ATTIC, received many awards. VASILISSA THE BEAUTIFUL (HarperCollins) was on the IRA Teacher's Choice and Children's Choice lists.

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