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MASHA AND THE FIREBIRD by Margaret Bateson Hill


by Margaret Bateson Hill & illustrated by Anne Wilson

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-84089-134-3

In this original story modeled on traditional Eastern European folktales, a young egg painter is enlisted by the Firebird to disguise the four Eggs of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire so that Baba Yaga cannot find them. The plan works for the first three, but when little Masha leaves on an errand, her mother heedlessly sells the Egg of Fire to an old woman (guess who). With magical help, Masha tracks down the iron-toothed witch outside her spinning, chicken-legged house. In the ensuing confrontation the Firebird is burnt to ashes, but rises again from the reclaimed Egg. Using deep, vivid colors, Wilson splashes the Firebird magnificently across shadowed, mysterious-looking forest backdrops, adding pictures of real eggs decorated not with traditional motifs but simply painted images—readers who would like to try egg painting themselves will find encouragement and basic instructions at the end. A four-line verse in Cyrillic, translated on the endpapers, is repeated beneath each egg as a visual and verbal chorus to this dramatic, atmospheric tale. Fans of Baba Yaga stories will be delighted. (Picture book. 7-9)