Described by the publisher as ""an original folktale"" (an oxymoron), a story that combines two familiar Russian figures: Baba Yaga and a firebird. When a minor tzar, Yaroslav, fails to invite Baba Yaga to his coronation, she punishes him by giving him the splendid bird--with the warning that if it is ever harmed, he will have to go to ""the Outermost Edge of the World."" Absorbed in protecting the bird, Yaroslav neglects his other duties and eventually neglects the bird as well. His resulting trip is arduous, but he survives it to come home wiser, and with a light heart. A gently humorous, smoothly told story; Rayevsky's powerful design, stylized Russian characters (including the nicely gruesome witch), and decorative detail contribute handsomely to this spirited book.