A kind, grandmotherly woman meets the wise men and distributes toys and treats in this interpretation of a Russian folk tale.
Babushka keeps busy cleaning her tiny house and creating handmade toys. One wintry night three travelers arrive at her cottage asking for food and a place to rest. The opulently dressed men tell Babushka they are on a journey to take gifts to “a newborn king,” and they invite her to come along. Babushka declines the invitation but later packs up a basket of clothing, toys, and sweets, as well as her cat, and tries to follow the travelers. She meets needy children along the way, giving each child a much-appreciated gift, and then continues to wander all over her country, passing out presents. The emotionally satisfying folk tale is told in lyrical, polished prose that exudes an air of magic and mystery. Captivating, full-page illustrations in a cool palette of blues and purples set the Russian scene and help create a distinct personality for the doll-shaped Babushka. She is white, one of the wise men has dark skin, and Mary and baby Jesus (seen in a dream) have dark hair and light brown skin. The wise men, Mary, and Jesus are not named as such but referred to generically or with eponyms.
A delightful retelling of an intriguing tale that will make a fine read-aloud for families who celebrate Christmas as a Christian holiday. (Picture book/folk tale/religion. 4-8)