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Twelve Months

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"Sew, Marushka! Weave, Marushka. Chop the wood! Milk the cows! Cut the hay and stack it - Marushka!"

The poor girl. No matter what she does or how hard she tries, Marushka can never please her cruel aunt and cousin. Determined to be rid of her, they give Marushka three impossible tasks. She must bring them fresh violets, strawberries, and apples - in the dead of winter - or be cast out of their home for good!

Lost and freezing, Marushka is ...

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"Sew, Marushka! Weave, Marushka. Chop the wood! Milk the cows! Cut the hay and stack it - Marushka!"

The poor girl. No matter what she does or how hard she tries, Marushka can never please her cruel aunt and cousin. Determined to be rid of her, they give Marushka three impossible tasks. She must bring them fresh violets, strawberries, and apples - in the dead of winter - or be cast out of their home for good!

Lost and freezing, Marushka is without hope. Then she meets the twelve months of the year seated around a fire on the mountaintop. With their kind help, the impossible becomes possible. Without it? Well . . . as Marushka's greedy relatives are about to discover, that's another story.

Rafe Martin and Vladyana Langer Krykorka give this timeless Slavic tale a delightful new twist.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Following his successful The Rough-Face Girl, a retelling of a Native-American Cinderella story, Rafe Martin introduces The Twelve Months, illus. by Vladyana Langer Krykorka, a Slavic Cinderella tale. Here there is no prince, but the 12 months play the part of the fairy godmother to Marushka, returning once a year to help celebrate the harvest. The artwork evokes the rustic setting and, as the 12 months work their magic, the illustrations light up with yellows and golds, and the characters' faces reveal wonderment. ( Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Maruska is a lovely young girl who must live with her cruel aunt and cousin Heolena. In this Cinderella-like tale, Maruska must do all the chores while her aunt and cousin deride her. As Maruska grows more beautiful, Heolena's face becomes set with lines and wrinkles from scowling and yelling. Heolena complains that no one will want to marry her as long as Maruska is around, so a plan is devised to drive her away. The aunt and Heolena send her out on an impossible mission. She must find violets in the middle of winter. Maruska is warned by her aunt not to return until she has the violets. She makes her way through the deep snow to the highest mountain peak where twelve men sit around a warm fire. They are the twelve months of the year and with their help, Maruska is able to return home with the violets. Three times Maruska is sent from her home with unattainable goals, yet each time she is able to succeed. The frustrated relatives set off to find treasures for themselves, but wander in the snowy forest and never return. The illustrations capture a mystical atmosphere and add wonderfully to this retelling of a Slavic tale. 2001 (orig. 2000), Stoddart Kids, $15.95. Ages 4 to 7. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-A retelling of a Slavic folktale. Marushka, an orphan, does all the household tasks. No matter how hard she works, it is never enough to please her hard-hearted aunt and cousin. As the young woman finds pleasure in her burdensome work, her beauty increases. The jealous aunt and cousin plot to get rid of her, sending her off in the dead of winter, first to find violets, then strawberries, and then apples. Alone in the forest, Marushka climbs to the top of the mountain and discovers 12 men, representing the months of the year, seated around a fire. Sympathetic to her plight, January briefly changes places with the month that will enable her to complete her task. The author does not provide his sources for the tale or information on its roots or variants. This version ends with a surprise: the small dog that appears in the illustrations is the narrator of the story, a twist that seems unnecessary for the well-told folktale. The framed paintings with captions contribute to the traditional tone of the story. The bluish hues and curving, lacy bare branches are effective in creating a sense of the cold, mysterious world. A good addition to folktale collections.-Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
Young and beautiful Marushka lives with her horrible aunt and her cousin Holena in a cottage on the edge of the woods. All day they yell at her and order her about, sweeping floors, cutting wood, milking the cows, and more. As hard as she works, Marushka still manages to find pleasure in the world around her. Angered by her youth and beauty, Holena and her mother become determined to rid themselves of Marushka by giving her three seemingly impossible tasks. She must bring them violets, strawberries, and applies, or never return home — all in the middle of winter! Desperate and cold, Marushka stumbles across twelve men sitting around a roaring fire. They are the twelve months and when she reveals her plight they agree to help her. Rafe Martin's The Twelve Months is an original, highly recommended fairytale superbly written for young readers ages 4 to 8 and wonderfully illustrated with Vladyana Krykorka's distinctive color artwork.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550051544
  • Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
  • Publication date: 12/31/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 28

Meet the Author

Rafe Martin is the author of over 20 books and the recipient of three American Library Association Notable Book Awards, Four Parent's Choice Gold Awards, two Anne Izard Storyteller's Choice Awards, an American Folklore Society Aesop's Accolade Award, several American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists," an IRA Teacher's Choice Award and many other awards of Distinction. Rafe has a Master's degree in English literature from the University of Toronto.

Vladyana was born and raised in Prague, Czech Republic. After graduating from Art High School, she studied Architecture at University of Prague. In 1968 she came to Canada and has lived in Toronto ever since. She has received extensive praise and many honours: winner of the Ruth Schwartz Award, named a Canadian Library Association Notable Book, short-listed for the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibson Award for Book Illustration and included on the AEZOP Accolade List.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2004

    Good Story

    This is a beautifu; story, but originally the young girl is sent to fetch Crisanthimums(sp?), and after her story of success spreads the Czarina wants in on her action.

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