Books by Rita Grauer

Released: May 4, 1994

After the death of their widowed mother, Vasalisa is tormented by her jealous older sister; a magic doll bequeathed by her mother offers her only comfort. Sent by her sister to secure fire from Baba Yaga, Vasalisa encounters the horsemen of night and day. Baba Yaga's hut runs on its legs into a river of fire; Vasalisa follows, emerging in the arms of the red horseman. Having passed this test, she enters the hut, serves the witch, gives her the doll, and returns with the required flame to the arms of a repentant sister. Grauer's colored pencil illustrations in luscious fruit tones outstrip her retelling (although she says Vasalisa cuts her hair but then fails to show it). According to a note, she was inspired by Jung, Bettelheim, et al. (her interpretations ``are designed to illuminate the story's deeper significance''). Unfortunately, the tale suffers in numerous ways from this well-intentioned meddling, most importantly because Vasalisa no longer moves into independent adult life. See also Mayer, below; but Winthrop's traditional version (1991) remains the best. (Folklore/Picture Book. 4-8) Read full book review >