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Vasilissa the Beautiful: A Russian Folktale…

Vasilissa the Beautiful: A Russian Folktale

by Elizabeth Winthrop

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This tale is appropriate for 4th and 5th graders. This tale is from Russia and it is about a beautiful girl Vasilissa who has a step mother and sisters who not very nice to her. Vasillissa has a magic doll that she keeps hidden in her pocket but one day it comes alive to protect her and comfort her. Vasilissa is on a journey to the old witches house. There is lots of magic and mystery in the story and how good overcomes bad. Its a combination of many fair-tales into one. This picture on the book are very dark and have lots of skulls and creepy looking characters. Could scare young children.
Teachers could use this book to:
-Find new vocabulary words as a class while reading. The teacher can write them on the board and they students can predict what they believe the word means before they look up the definition.
-Use the book show students that evil and mean people are not good and that the good always do better then the bad.
  Ebinns | Nov 28, 2011 |
In this version of a Baba Yaga story, Vasilissa is sent to visit the witch by her stepmother and stepsister. While trusting on the help of her magical doll left by her mother, Vasilissa is able to abide by the orders of Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga is an evil witch but has no reason to harm Vasilissa as she is able to do what is asked of her. When confronted by Baba Yaga, Vasilissa tells her she has the grace of her mother, which angers the witch and throws Vasilissa out of her house. It shows that Baba Yaga is not a follower of faith thus proving she is full of witchcraft. This is a Russian version of Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel according to the author. ( )
  lorinhigashi | Nov 21, 2011 |
The Vasilissa folktale combines the Baba Yaga character into a Cinderella-like story, but this version does contain a few elements that extend beyond the familiar Baba Yaga folktale. Furthermore, the illustrations are so beautiful, and the story complex and entertaining, that it will be enjoyed by older children and adults. Vasilissa is a beautiful young girl, whose dying mother gifts her with a magic doll who gives her advice when fed. Vasilissa is despised by her new stepmother and stepsisters, who force her to go to the house of the witch, Baba Yaga, to retrieve some fire, which burns within the skulls that line her fence. Vasilissa is forced to keep house for Baba Yaga, who sends her back with a glowing skull. The skull burns up her evil step-family, and she is adopted by an old woman in the village. There, she weaves the finest linen, fit only for the tsar, who falls in love with her and makes her his wife. Young children might be frightened by the skulls, but otherwise this version is not violent or scary; recommended for ages 8-12. ( )
  rsamet | Dec 17, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0064433455, Paperback)

Mistreated by her cruel stepmother and jealous stepsisters, Vasilissa has only her little doll to comfort and protect her. But fierce powers await Vasilissa--deep in the forest lives an old witch named Baba Yaga. "Winthrop's supple, unobstrusive retelling is lively with entertaining incident."--Kirkus Reviews, pointered review. Full color.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:05 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A retelling of the old Russian fairy tale in which beautiful Vasilissa uses the help of her doll to escape from the clutches of the witch Baba Yaga.

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