Finding Baba Yaga by Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen, like Eve Bunting, does not need my recommendations.  I give them, anyway.  I have never read anything by either of these authors that didn’t set my mind to spinning.

Finding Baba Yaga is pure poetry.  That’s not a metaphor.  It is a novella in verse with lines that soar: “The hallelujah chorus of birds,” and “Living well lasts longer than love.”  As lovely as the writing is, read it for the story. Storytelling is what makes Yolen exceptional.

Finding Baba Yaga  follows a runaway into the woods.  It’s about  questioned beliefs and finding ones own way.  You’ll probably want to read it in one sitting.  I did.  This update of an old Russian fairy tale might also make you want to go back and revisit the original tales.

Yolen and Penfold: Two Welcome Songs

I signed up for Jane Yolen’s Poem a Day.

Not only does her craft seem effortless…and true craft never is…she always has something important to say. In exchange for her daily dose of good medicine, I promise to buy or check out of the library one of her books each month.  I already have a sizeable Jane Yolen collection, but this month I added two more books—the Kindle version of Mapping the Bones, set in Poland in 1942, and a picture book, A Bear Sat on My Porch Today (illustrated by Rilla Alexander).

I like three-dimensional books, the feel of the paper, the heft, but I carry the Kindle when I’m traveling, read from it when I’m on the treadmill, and just know there is always a library at my fingertips.  I prefer my picture books solid so I can share them.  I like the illustrations big and in my face.

I picked up A Bear Sat on My Porch Today along with another picture book I’ve been wanting, All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold (illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman).  What a revelation when I read the two books back to back!

Yolen and Penfold don’t preach their message of welcome, they sing it.  Children will love the cadence and the rhyme, and you will enjoy reading them aloud, even if you have to read them many times.