Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Tashi and the Baba Yaga

Tashi and the Baba Yaga

Barbara Fienberg
Illustrator:  Kim Gamble 
Fiction  Series
For ages 5 to 7
Allen and Unwin, 2007   ISBN: 978-1741149692

Jack’s dad is at home in bed with a bad cold and he is looking through catalogues showing “Beach Houses for Sale.” Jack is not to keen on the idea of going to live in a beach house. He likes the house that they are living in now and would miss his school and his friends. And, as he reminds his father, “You’ve got to be careful about exploring new houses.”

Jack then proceeds to tell his parents one of his marvelous Tashi stories. Apparently, when Tashi lived in the old country, a house suddenly appeared in a clearing in the forest near his village, right after a terrible storm had hit the area. It stood on a pair of chicken legs and it had a decidedly odd air about it. Being a curious fellow Tashi could not help going up to the house to investigate. An old woman came out of the house and invited him in to have a glass of tea. The old woman’s daughter was in the house plucking a goose.

While Tashi had his tea the woman, Baba Yaga, explained that she had been blown to the clearing by the storm. She did not think she would stay though because there were not many children about. She then pinched Tashi’s arm and, commenting on juicy he seemed to be, she told him how much she liked “Boy-Baked-In-A-Pie.”

Tashi then knew that he was in dire straits. After telling her daughter to prepare Tashi for baking Baba Yaga went out. Thinking quickly Tashi managed to persuade Baba Yaga’s daughter to get some apples and spices to roast in her pie. While she was gone Tashi dressed the goose in his clothes and put it in the pie pan.

Soon enough the goose dressed as Tashi was baking merrily in the oven. Unfortunately Baba Yaga was not fooled for long after she started eating the pie. She could tell the difference between goose pie and boy pie. She and her daughter began to look for Tashi.

Readers who enjoy a good fairy tale will love this story about the infamous child eating witch who does not get to eat her dinner after all. Once again, Tashi is able to get out of a sticky situation so he can tell his friend Jack his many wonderful tales.

Better still there is a second story in this book which is sure to have readers sitting on the edge of their seats. In the story Tashi once again has a nasty encounter with the wicked Baron and this time he faces the Baron’s famous white tiger and a fierce River Pirate.

These wonderfully creative stories, which are liberally sprinkled with humor and lovely illustrations, are perfect for beginner readers who are ready to tackle something a little more challenging.