Enough is an excellent storytime selection for primary students and an important study for intermediate and older students, even adults. For young children, this is a spellbinding Ukrainian folktale complete with magic, the conflict of good and evil, and a happy ending. The story takes place during a real-life atrocity, the Famine of the 1930's, but Marsha Skrypuch's unresentful and talented storytelling allows this serious subject to be a perfect setting for the actions of a female hero. Michael Martchenko's superior drawings add just the right amount of humour. The large, brightly coloured 19 x 21 cm pictures are suitable for group presentations. . . Enough is the second picture book that features the team of Marsha Skrypuch and Michael Martchenko. . . This author exposes us, in a kindly manner, to history that should not be overlooked. Highly recommended for school and public libraries." — Resource Links
"Martchenko's art will be familiar to Robert Munsch fans. His expressive characters and detailed settings are complementary to the text. His cultural knowledge is evident in the dress of his characters and he adds gentle warmth and humour to a well-told tale."
— The Brandon Sun
"Michael Martchenko's illustrations play nicely into this picture book set in a village in Ukraine as the Soviets come into power. Even in the best of times, Marusia and her father eke a meagre living from their farm, but with the "Dictator" in power, their farm and their grain are expropriated. Plucky Marusia takes matters into her own hands and, helped by a stork, flies across the sea to a verdant land, gathering enough grain to feed the village. That grain is also expropriated, leaving Marusia no choice but to devise a wickedly simple ruse to foil the oppressor."
— The Globe and Mail
"Picture books aren't necessarily baby books or even easy books. Some tell very mature stories. One of my children refused to listen to chapter books long after she could comprehend them. For her, a book meant pictures and that meant colour - and not artsy black and white woodcuts either. . .In
Enough, Canadian writer Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has stayed with the classic folk tale formula of a greedy landlord and his men who steal the harvest. This particular landlord is Josef Stalin, though he is never named. After years of hunger, a little heroine named Marusia finally masterminds a scheme to dig graves to hide the grain. News of such a large graveyard reached the dictator who came to inspect the sacrifice. — Horrified, Marusia saw a scrap of cloth, along with a few grains of wheat, sticking out of the last grave. — Luckily, the dictator assumed the peasants were too stupid to use coffins. Skrypuch never swerves from the folk tale devices of her story. Despite her historical allusions, there is a magic stork which flies her to the Canadian Prairies for crucial seed. And Michael Martchenko's spirited illustrations full of specific detail right from the Ukrainian shawl lining the endpapers, give the story the weight of truth. Beside the peasants' bright clothes and rich yellow fields of grain, a graveyard overwhelmed with storm clouds shocks the reader into understanding what famine means." — The National Post
This wordy fairy tale by the creators of Silver Threads is rooted in history; according to an introductory note, the setting is "during the Famine instigated by Stalin in 1930's Ukraine." But the volume suffers from the tall-tale quality of the narrative and the exaggerated characterizations. After one of "the Dictator's soldiers" appears on the farm where Marusia lives with her father, he announces, "Your wheat and your farm now belong to the People." He and his compatriots confiscate the crops of every farmer in the village. But Marusia hides one sack of grain that keeps them all alive during the hard winter, and plants seeds from which a magic stalk grows, attracting a large stork. The bird carries her on its back to a land of plenty so she can restock her village's supplies. In a predictable turn of events, another of the Dictator's soldiers makes a similar journey on the stork's back, but hordes so much grain that he and his sacks tumble off into the ocean. Unfortunately, the prose is often overblown when coupled with the oafish characters depicted (e.g., it is "the Dictator's wish that this land be filled with graves"). The villains--and even the victimized Ukrainians--appear as caricatures in the artwork, which does little to vitalize this heavy-handed narrative. Ages 6-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
How much is "enough?" For many of us, it is difficult to answer that question while we live in our comfortable homes with plenty of food to eat. For Marusia and her father, "enough" is simply a few seeds of grain. Set during the famine in the Ukraine during the 1930s, this wonderful book depicts the hardship faced by one small village because of the greed of the Dictator and his officers, who think they never have "enough." The life-like illustrations help tell this story of hope and perseverance, as Marusia and her fellow villagers work to outsmart the Dictator. This is a wonderful contemporary folktale and would be a great addition to any library. 2000, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, $15.95. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Sheree Van Vreede
K-Gr 3-Marusia and her father barely survive on what they grow on their little farm in Zhitya, so, when the Dictator's soldiers claim all of their crops, the family is destitute. Luckily, resourceful Marusia has hidden a bag of grain and feeds her father and friends a thin porridge throughout the winter. When they plant the last of the wheat, one magical stalk attracts a stork that takes the child across the ocean where fellow Ukrainians give her some grain. After she plants it, soldiers take this harvest, and an officer steals seeds from the magic stalk. In the end, his greed gets the best of him. Marusia is then able to come up with a plan to foil the Dictator and assure a peaceful life in Zhitya. As appealing and universal as the theme is, the book is flawed by gaps in its internal logic. When Marusia arrives in "a new world," the expatriates say, "Times are hard, but we are happy to share," but the illustrations show them surrounded by piles of grain. When the stork approaches the officer, the man remembers what happened to Marusia-but how would he know? Martchenko's pastoral illustrations are lovely, but the faces of the characters are cartoonlike and don't suit the mood of the story. Marusia sometimes looks like a distant cousin to Tintin, and this spunky heroine deserves better.-Jeanne Clancy Watkins, Chester County Library, Exton, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.