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Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire
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Egg & Spoon

by Gregory Maguire

Other authors: Matt Roeser (Cover artist)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3613530,087 (3.62)28

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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Set in the last years of the Russian monarchy, Egg and Spoon is a fanciful mix of history, folklore, philosophy, childhood fantasy, silliness, and very clever writing.
In a rural village, peasant Elena cares for her sick mother, scouring the desolate countryside for food, while mourning the loss of her dead father and her two brothers who have been pressed into service. Cat (born Ekaterina), a wealthy Russian girl leaves her London boarding school to go to St. Petersburg where she will meet (and possibly catch the eye of ) the godson of the Tsar. Cat's train must wait for repairs near Elena's village, and the two girls meet. When Cat shows Elena a Faberge egg intended as a gift for the Tsar, an accident happens that causes the girls to trade places, setting them on a string of unlikely adventures and eventually on a quest to save the firebird, Russia and the entire world. The story includes a vast array of incredible characters including (but not limited to) Baba Yaga, the witch from Russian folktale; Zmey-Azdaja, the ice dragon; Dumb Doma, a house with legs; Anton, the tsar's godson; a magical cat named Mewster; a collection of oversized matryoshka dolls; and our insightful narrator, an imprisoned monk who, like Scheherazade, tells this story in parts, in the hope of saving his life.
By turns ridiculously silly and deeply profound, Egg and Spoon is an utter delight. Elena and Cat perform magnificently, both as examples of social class and as individual personalities. The two wend their ways through a magical, bizarre, and funny Russian wonderland. In the end, Maguire drops a serious message in a light-hearted manner: saving the world is something everyone can do, and it isn't as hard as it might seem. Highly Recommended. ( )
  elizabethcfelt | May 15, 2017 |
I felt that this children's/young adult novel was a mixture of a moralistic fairy tale and a tsarist Russian version of The Prince and the Pauper. I was bothered early on by references to hummingbirds (which are native only in North & South America) and then the witch Baba Yaga made many anachronistic comments... These comments didn't really add to the story for me (in fact, they detracted from it) though I suppose the idea was that it would give younger readers something familiar to which they could relate (but in that case they were often poorly chosen - I caught Baba Yaga's riff on Bette Davis's famous quote from the movie All About Eve "Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy night" but how many 10-15 year-olds would?). ( )
  leslie.98 | Mar 14, 2017 |
3.5

This was a really interesting, imaginative fun read. Dragon, witch, adventures galore. :) Everything takes place in Russia. It has a rich girl and peasant girl and a quest and more. ( )
  ToniFGMAMTC | Jan 19, 2017 |
3.5

This was a really interesting, imaginative fun read. Dragon, witch, adventures galore. :) Everything takes place in Russia. It has a rich girl and peasant girl and a quest and more. ( )
  ToniFGMAMTC | Jan 19, 2017 |
Hmmm…while reading this, it was by-and-large very boring. Little of interest happened throughout the story, however, in retrospect, I find myself puzzling over it more and more to the point that I might someday re-read it simply to see what that something is that I appear to be missing. ( )
  benuathanasia | Jan 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gregory Maguireprimary authorall editionscalculated
Roeser, MattCover artistsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Page, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sukjaroensuk, NuttakitDamask patternsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Society . . . has taken upon itself the general arrangement of the whole system of spoons.

-- Charles Dickens, Bleak House
Tell Polly she shall have half my egg.

-- Jane Gardam, "The Tribute"
"The eggs -- the eggs are teaching the hen," the count said through happy tears . . .

-- Leo Tolstoi, War and Peace, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (ending epigraph)
Dedication
For
Maureen Casey
and
Brian O'Shaughnessy
In memory and honor of Maurice Sendak (ending dedication)
First words
The heels of military boots, striking marble floors, made a sound like thrown stones.
Quotations
"That's all that most of us who are not Tsars or witches can manage to do," added Monsieur de'Amboise. "Take care of the one at hand. Here's your scarf."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar's army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food.

But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family on their way to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg -- a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena's age.

When the two girls' lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and -- in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured -- a wise-cracking Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs.

[From the jacket]
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