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Friday, December 27, 2013

Bony-Legs - Joanna Cole

One of my reading groups was discussing scary books we enjoyed as children. I hadn't thought about this story in years, so it startled me when it immediately popped into my mind when the topic came up.

Based on the Russian folk tale of the witch Baba Yaga. Bony-Legs lives in a house in the forest that stands on chicken feet. Sasha, a girl, is sent out by her aunt to borrow a needle and thread. Along the way, Sasha shows kindness to a dog, a cat, and a gate, who later help her escape from the witch. When Sasha innocently asks to borrow a needle and thread, Bony-Legs announces she will instead eat the little girl.

Although Sasha is scared, she shows courage in escaping with the magic objects given to her by the animals she helped during her journey.

While I was a child, I could never quite identify what it was about this book that made me so attached; however, as an adult I am able to articulate it. I love Sasha's kindness and generosity. Even better is the fact that it is rewarded later in the story. She cries when she is first captured, but she shows bravery in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation when she escapes. Her trust in the magic objects she is given exemplifies faith in others.

There is also the fantastic illustrations. Hidden within many of the pictures are eyes and other creepy images that fascinated me as a child.

I hope other young readers will discover and enjoy this retelling as much as I did and still do.

Recommended Reads:
Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak

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