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FIREBIRD by Saviour Pirotta


by Saviour Pirotta, illustrated by Catherine Hyde

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5076-6
Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

The 1910 Paris production of The Firebird by Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe electrified Europe with its brilliant weave of storytelling, music and performance. Motifs from Russian folklore of a quest, an enchantment and an evil sorcerer melded with Stravinsky’s atonal score for a ballet that still remains in the established repertory of companies in one form or another. This title celebrates that centennial. The full-page acrylic paintings dominate the book with their atmospheric, nighttime settings and elegant gold lines. The text is straightforward, with little embellishment, and relates how Prince Ivan, the youngest son, finds his true love with the help of a golden feather from a firebird and a shape-changing grey wolf. The evil sorcerer, Kastchei, a dramatic character in the ballet, is not part of this story. Remarkably, the author keeps the many steps to marriage moving along in succinct succession, but a more romantic or flowery touch would have been welcome, given that romantic love is its focus. (author’s note) (Picture book/folktale. 4-7)