A Russian Folktale
Age Range: 6 - 10
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 Ivan the Terrible has a handsome young archer named Dimitri. Against his magic horse's advice, Dimitri brings the Czar a feather from the Firebird, but the ungrateful Ivan demands that Dimitri fetch him the entire bird. With the help of his horse, Dimitri does so. The Czar then orders him to go to the Land of Never and bring him the fairy princess Vassilissa for him to marry. The horse is pessimistic, but Dimitri obeys. Vassilissa falls for the young archer and stalls. She asks that Dimitri go again to the Land of Never to retrieve her wedding gown. When Dimitri returns with the dress, Vassilissa stalls again. She says she will not be married until Dimitri jumps into a pot of boiling water. Dimitri's horse advises him to do it, and Vassilissa sprinkles magic dust into the pot so that when Dimitri leaps in he is turned into a handsome prince. The ugly old Czar tries the same thing, but he just dies. Everyone else lives happily ever after, which makes the horse's dire warnings a mystery. Demi's (Demi's Dragons and Fantastic Creatures, 1993, etc.) adaptation of this folktale lacks luster, despite all its gilding. (Folklore/Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-8050-3244-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1994


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