GRANDMA CHICKENLEGS by Geraldine McCaughrean


Age Range: 7 - 10
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The familiar tale of a child surviving a visit to Baba Yaga’s chicken-legged abode has never been told with more gusto. Dispatched on an errand to dreaded Grandma Chickenlegs’s house by her cruel stepmother (“a woman with eyes as sharp as needles and a soul as thin as a thread”), young Tatia escapes the witch three times, due to magic help and the advice of her beloved doll, Drooga. Using twisted perspectives and vigorously applied colors, Kemp creates a set of wild, garishly lit climactic scenes dominated by the grimacing, green-skinned granny—perfect counterpart to McCaughrean’s colorful prose style: “Around the garden, on four scratching, paltry poultry legs ran the rickety-rackety shack. Its fence was made from rattly bones.” Reunited in the end with her long-absent father, Tatia blows off her mother’s dying advice to “give and forgive,” triumphantly turning stepmother and stepsisters out on the street in their underclothes. This is a rousing alternative to Nonny Hogrogian’s subdued Vasilisa the Beautiful (1970) or Mariana Mayer’s coldly elegant Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave (1994). (Picture book/folklore. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1999
ISBN: 1-57505-415-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Carolrhoda
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1999