White Ravens: Russia
Russia (Russian) - 1993 - 37
Arsen'ev, Vladimir Klavdievič
Shneerson, Victor (transl.)
Moscow: Raduga, 1990. 333 p.
adventure - fantasy
Dersu Uzala is one of the most important literary works by the Russian traveling researcher, ethnographer and author V.K. Arsen'ev (1872-1930). Arsen'ev fuses scientific precision in his natural descriptions with a feeling for nature and depicts experiences in a brief but poetic language. His works also reveal influences from Asiatic authors. - The book's hero is an old hunter, leader and faithful friend of the author; a man of great wisdom and knowledge of nature, he has already appeared in the volume Po Ussurijskomu kraju (In the Country Along the Ussuri). Dersu Uzala can only live in and with nature; his attempted contact with modern civilization (at the beginning of this century) ends in a fiasco. An interesting and instructive story which awakens interest for distant countries, travels, geography etc. - Although the work has appeared twice in German (1949 and 1952) and English (1941 and 1965) translation and although the great Japan- ese producer Akira Kurosawa (The 7 Samurai) made it into a film in 1973 entitled Uzala the Kirgise (Kurosawa was above all interested in the figure of Uzala himself), it has remained practically unknown in the West. (12+)
Russia (Russian) - 1993 - 38
Eršov, lgor' (illus.)
Bobrowski, Thea-Marianne (transl.)
(Alënuška, Russian Folktales)
(Russian Orig. Title: Alënuška)
Moskau: Raduga, 1989. 77 p.
fairy tale (Russia)
At least for the Westerner, fairy tale books still belong to the best the Russian book market has to offer for children. A very nicely designed edition with delicate ornamental illustrations in a blend of techniques. (5+)
Russia (Russian) - 1993 - 39
Korovin, Valentin (ed.)
Alimov, Sergej (illus.)
Erb, Marga (transl.)
Schick, Flita (transl.)
Umbreit, Hannelore (transl.)
Lange, W. (transl.)
Gnuhn, Wolfgang (transl.)
(Fantastičeskij mir XIX veka; Russian Ghost Stories)
Moskau: Raduga, 1990. 349 p.
ghost stories - Russian romanticism
Seven fascinating ghost stories in the style of Russian romanticism; the only one known In the West is A.S. Puschkin's Pique Lady. The other narratives which take place in a realistic material world into which a subtle demonic, grotesquely fantastic ghost world suddenly intrudes are by Antoni Pogorel’skij (i.e.: Aleksej A. Perovskij, 1787-1836), Orest M. Somov (1793-1833), Aleksandr A. Bestužev-Marlinskij (1797-1837), Evgenij A. Baratynskij (1800-1844), Osip (Julijan) I. Senkovskij, Vladimir F. Odoevskij (1803-1869) and Aleksej Konstantinovič Tolstoj (1817-1875; cousin of Lev N. Tolstoj, not to be confused with the socialist author Ateksej Nikolaevič, Tolstoj) - all highly intelligent people in important functions, often geniuses who, with the exception of the reactionary Oriental specialist Baratynskij, supported progress and liberalization and were closely connected with the revolutionary Decembrists.
Russia (Russian) - 1993 - 40
Majofis, M. (illus.)
(Sindbad the Sailor)
Moskva: Zolotoj ključik, 1991. 92 p.
fairy tale (Arabia)
A very interesting edition of the six journeys of Sindbad Illustrated by the important Russian artist Majofis who once again deals with the local color of the material to be covered without being untrue to himself.
Special Mention - Russia (Russian) - 1993 - 41
Sef, Roman (i.e. Roal'd Semënovič Sef) (text)
Vaščenko, Jurij (illus.)
Ključ ot skazki
(The Key to the Fairy Tale)
Moskva: Datskaja literatura, 1989. 238 p.
A fancifully illustrated edition of brilliant poems for children by a not so young Russian author (born in 1931). Roman Sef is associated with both traditional Soviet Russian children's lyric (Kornej Čukovskij, Sarnuil Maršak, Vladimir Majakovskij) as well as Russian folk literature (some of his verses remind one of "(Častuški" - a kind of Russian popular ditty) and has an excellent feeling for rhythm. From his choice of theme and the way he approaches a topic, he is not unlike Josef Guggenmoos to whom he is in no way inferior with regard to his jokes. (8+)
Russia (Russian) - 1993 - 42
Strelkova, Irina (ed.)
Elkonina, Natalija (illus.)
Calvert, Amanda (transl.)
Cook-Horyjy, K.M. (transl.)
Bobrova, Raisa (transl.)
(Animal Tales from the Russian Countryside)
Moscow: Raduga, 1990. 125 p.
farm animals - pets
Narratives about pets and farm animals and the consequences of civilization on Russian farms by Fëdor Abrarnov, Viktor Astaf’ev, Vassilij Belov, Evgenij Nosov, Vladimir Solouchin and Michail Prišvin who have all made a name for themselves throughout Russia by writing outstanding works for children and young people. (9+)
Russia (Russian) - 1994 - 48
Judin, Georgij (text/illus.)
Bukvarënok : Azbuka v rasskazach, skazkach i kartinkach
(ABC Book: The ABC in Stories, Tales and Pictures)
Moskva: Rosmėn, 1992. 197 p.
The author and illustrator Georgij Judin has created here an especially successful ABC for pre-school children. The phonetic letters are presented as animal sounds or emotional expressions. The shapes of the letters are skillfully designed and impressively presented, often in several variations. In funny stories in which the respective letter frequently appears, the characteristic use of the letters is given. (5+)
Special Mention - Russia (Russian) - 1994 - 49
Jakovlev, Lev (ed.)
Kukareku: skazki i komiksy …dija detej i vzroslych
(Cock-a-doodle-doo : Tales and comics ... for children and adults)
Moskva: Slovo, 1990. 210 p. With illustrations
While the individual production of Russian children's literature brings forth new and interesting works only sparingly and gradually, this first volume of an anthology from a British-Russian publishing joint venture is a true firework. Witty, naughty verses alternate with gentle fairy tales, interesting non-fiction contributions (many dealing with art topics) and funny animal tales, and so on and so forth. Young authors are included along with great names in (children's) literature, such as Marina Cvetaeva, Daniil Charms, Evgenij Švarc and ėduard Uspenskij, to name just a few. The graphic design and the illustrations are also very impressive. The contributions by numerous renown artists are skillfully arranged in a harmonious unity. (8+)
Russia (Russian) - 1994 - 50
Laneckaja, Elena (text)
Borisov, Anatolij (illus.)
Noč ' polnolunija
(A Full Moon Night)
Moskva: M & M u.a., 1992. 108 p.
In an underground world there lives a soft and hairy green creature, the Skučun, who knows of the existence of a city named Moscow in the overground world from the reports of his ancestors. One day he sets off to see this world himself and encounters Ksenija, waiting for her mother on a night of the full-moon alone in the garden. Together they take a nocturnal journey - through space and time. In the morning it is all over. This interestingly written fantasy is richly illustrated in the still of the Leningrad PictureBook School (Brothers Traugot). (6+)
Special Mention - Russia (Russian) - 1994 - 51
Pogorel’skij, Antonij (text)
Dechterëv, Boris A. (illus.)
(Tales of magic)
Moskva: Detskaja literatura, 1992. 125 p.
Modern Fairy Tale/Russian
This volume contains the two romantic tales Of Antonij Pogorel'skij (pseud. Of Alexei A. Perovskij; 1787-1836), a bastard sons of the Duke A.K. Razlimovskij: "The Poppy Seed Cake Woman of Lafertovo" and "The Black Hen or The Inhabitants of the Underworld." In both tales, the portrayal of the real world and psychological studies of the characters goes hand in hand with supernatural phenomena and the description of a fairy tale world. In the first tale, set in Moscow in the 17th century, a witch has a disastrous influence on human fates, which can only be corrected after her death. The second tale takes place in a boarding school in St. Petersburg in the 18th century and deals with a boy, an outsider, who is conducted into the underworld by a black hen, who "in reality", is the mininster of an underground dwarf king. The subterrestials possess mysterious powers and can help the boy in many situations. Both tales are clearly influenced by the works of E.T.A. Hoffmann. This book is striking for its excellent design and the outstanding historicizing illustrations by Dechterëv. (10+)
Russia (Russian) - 1994 - 52
Kondakova, Ol'ga (illus.)
Emery, Chatherine (transl.)
Pomme mûre et plat d'argent: Contes russes (Russian Orig. Title: Sereb rjannoe bljudečko i nalivnoe jabloč ko)
(The Red Apple on the Silver Plate: Russian Fairy Tales)
Moscou: Radouga, 1990. 77 p.
This book, attractively designed and richly illustrated in the Russian Folk Art style, includes, among others things, four typically Russian magical tales which are not contained in these versions in Aleksandr N. Afanas'ev's fairy tale compendium: "The Red Apple on the Silver Plate" and "Father Frost, " - two Cinderella tales, each with a different ending - as well as "The Wooden Eagle" and "The Three Kingdoms." (5+)
Russia (Russian) - 1994 - 53
ProkoFeva, Sofja L. (text)
Kalinovskij, Gennadij (illus.)
Cook-Horujy, Kathleen (Engl. transl.)
Loskutik i oblako
(Raggity and the cloud)
Moscow: Raduga, 1990. 157 p.
Modern Fair Tale/Russian - Tyranny - Water
This suspenseful tale by the popular Russian children's book author Sofja Prokofeva deals with the battle against tyranny and oppression and is a call for more civil courage. The rag-girl lives in a country in which the king wants to have the only water spring for himself, walling it off, while his subjects die of thirst. An approaching rain cloud promises deliverance, but the king sends out his henchmen to find and destroy it. The rag-girl befriends the cloud and persuades other people to help it and, with its ability to change shapes, it manges to escape again and again, fooling the king. The final rescue comes in the shape of the little cloud's grandmother, the thundercloud whose lightning bolts destroy the evil king. Well-illustrated by the renown Russian artist and 1977 BIB award winner Gennadij Kalinovskij. (7+)
Russia (Russian) - 1995 - 27
Čarskaja, Lidija Alekscevna (d.i.: L.A. Čurilova)
Sudaruškin, A.I. et. al. (illus.)
(Notes of a boarding- school girl)
Moskva: Respublika, 1994. 382 p.
St. Petersburg - Boarding school/Girl - Caucasus - Multicultural Society
In addition to the novel of the title, this book by Lidija Alekseevna Čarskaja (1875- 1937) also contains the novel titled "Ljuda Vlassovskaja" (orig. publ. in 1904 under the title "Ludmila Vlassovskaja"). After the Russian Revolution the works of Časkaja received negative reviews and were forbidden as bourgeois literature, even though the famous children's book author and scholar of children's literature Kornei Chukovsky held her in high regard. In the title novel and in the first part of the biography of Ljuda Vlassovskaja she depicts life in a girls' boarding school in St. Petersburg at the end of the 19th century, with all its good and bad sides. She explores the girls' problems and describes in detail their feelings. In the latter novel, the author takes up a theme that is traditional in Russian literature and once again current interest: the multicultural society in Causasus. If history had taken a different course in her lifetime, Čarskaja would well have become the leading Russian writer for young girls. The re- issues of her works helps to make conscious the tradition so abruptly broken off in 1917. (10+)
Russia (Russian) - 1995 - 28
Čërnyj, Saša (Engl: Sascha Czerny, pseud. for Aleksandr M. Glikberg)
Prichod'ko, Vladimir (ed.)
Jakušin, M.M. (illus.)
Jakušina, L.A. (illus.)
Čto komu nravitsja: Stichi, skazki, rasskazy, povesti
(Something for everyone: verses, tales, stories)
Moskva: Molodaja gvardija, 1993. 445 p.
Fairy tales/Russia - Short stories/Russia
Sascha Czerny (born in Odessa, 1880 - died in La Lavandou, 1932) made a name for himself in St. Petersburg as a children's book author and satirist; after the Russian Revolution he emigrated first to Berlin where he continued to publish prolifically in the 1920s (in Russian). While his poems appeared already in the 1960s in the Soviet Union, a children's book was first published during the perestroika. This volume is a wide sampling of his works of children. Both Czerny's lyrical works and his stories and fairy tales - many dealing with animals and children's everyday life and often written from their own perspective - are still satisfying today both in speech and form as well as in their empathy or their satirical undertone. This volume also contains the picture book "The lively ABC" (which first appeared in Leipzig in 1922 with pictures by an unnamed illustrator) in which Czerny unites two animals in comical seven-syllable, two- line verses. (5+)
Russia (Russian) - 1995 - 29
Lamm, Nikolaj Viktorovič (text)
Martynov, Andrej E. (illus.)
Pochiščenie damy ili četvero idut po sledu
(The abduction of the lady, or four trace the clues)
Moskva: Zolotoj ključik, 1993. 59 p.
Abduction - Mafia/Russia - Social satire/Russia
Through in one way following the tradition of Russian stories for children, the author of this book nonetheless takes a new path. Full of irony and with many allusions to Russian society before and after the fall of the Communist regime, he depicts the abduction of a young girl and her friends' efforts to find and rescue her. The irony of the text finds continuity in the (especially the full-paged) illustrations. (10+)
Russia (Russian) - 1996 - 224
Lunin, Viktor (text)
Muchanova, Elena (illus.)
Priključenija sdobnoj Lizy : Povest'-skazka
(The Adventures of Gingerbread Liza. A Fairy Tale)
Moskva: Slovo, 1995. 88 p.
Cat - Phantastic tale
Viktor Lunin first became known to Russian children's literature through his witty verses, in which he gave shape to moods or ideas, without tackling any particual subject. Interestingly enough, he takes the same approach in his prose. He reduces the plot to a minimum, sketches out moods and shapes of plot. In this fairy tale the master pastry maker Cream makes a cat, the gingerbread Liza, come to life. She jumps through the window and wanders through town and countryside. In her many adventures she still remains a creature made of dough. With her new friend, tom-cat Valerian on the track of mice, she accidentally returns to the shop of the pastry maker, who has been given a basket of mice by an ill-willed relative. Liza and Valerian free Cream from this nuisance. The story shows many parallels to folk-tales and is told typically for Lunin, in a lively, child-oriented narrative. (6+)
Russia (Russian) - 1996 - 225
Buslenko, Vladimir (text)
Andreev, N. (illus.)
Kak rabotaet kompjuter
(How a computer works)
Moskva: Malyš, 1995. 26 p.
This very simply bound, but excellently designed booklet gives an insight into the history and functioning of calculating machines, beginning with the mechanical calculator of Blaise Pascal (1648) to the modern personal computer and large-frame computers, with their many uses. In the historical section the illustrations are historical, while the section on modern computers is strongly oriented toward Soviet avant-garde art of the 1920s and 1930s. (10+)
Russia (Russian) - 1996 - 226
Šif, Ljubov' Isakovna (text)
Džigirej, Alla (illus.)
Putešestvija po Peterburgu s Alikom i Gusarikom
(Trips through Saint Petersburg with Alex and the Little Husar)
Sankt-Peterburg: Nevskij kur'er, 1994. 78 p.
Travel guide - Saint Petersburg
This is the first volume of a series of narrative city guides to Saint Petersburg. Seven-year-old Alex and his friend, the little Husar, visit the Church of Peter and Paul, the Eremitage, the city's first house - the little house of Peter the First - and Vasiliy Island and other interesting and historically significant sites. Beginning with several stories about the history of the town, the two friends themselves land in these historical periods. The book is illustrated with black-and-white silhouette graphics interspersed in the text and with double-paged color illustrations. (8+)
Russia (Russian) - 1996 - 227
Serova, Marija Micheevna (text)
(Tales from Novgorod)
Novgorod: Zemlja Novgorodskaja, 1995. 151 p.
This small collection of fairy tales from northwest Russia appeared in 1925 in a small print run of the publishing house Petrograd. But it could not be found in Russian libraries. Thus this volume, with its at times earthy humor, has been reissued based on a copy of the Serova family living in Paris. It is typical of those days, illustrated in a style having elements of art nouveau, expressionism and Russian folk art, where ornamental images alternate with free compositions and icon-like portrayals of real people. (8+)
Russia (Russian/English) - 1996 - 228
Kružkov, Grigorij (text)
Šatalov, A. (illus.)
Bartlett, Rosamund (Engl. transl.)
Otkuda što vzjalos' - Where Things Came From
Moskva: Linka-Press, 1995. 36 p.
This simply designed Russian picture book, a bilingual booklet, about the origins of animals, plants and the world in which they live incorporates legends and creation myths from all around the world. (6+)
Russia (Russian) - 1997 - 226
Balobanova, Ekaterina Vjačeslavovna (reteller)
Peterson, Ol'ga Michajlovna (reteller)
Gordeev, Denis Dmitrievič (illus.)
Rycari Kruglogo Stola. Predanija Romanskich narodov srednevekovoj Evropy
(The knights of the Round table. Tales of the Romanic peoples in the European Middle Ages)
Moskva: Argus, 1995. 379 p.
(Venok skazok / »Predanija sedych vekov«; 1)
Legend - Chivalry
There are hardly any books for young adults with a current theme being published in eastern Europe at the present time, but evidently there is a new interest being taken in those historical themes which were largely avoided during the socialist era, such as a positive portrayal of the feudal period. This volume is a comprehensive anthology of romances of chivalry retold by the Russian specialist for western and central European folklore, E.V. Balobanova (1844-1927), and the translator and literary scholar, O.M. Peterson. It includes, among other titles, the »Song of Roland«, tales of the Magician Merlin, the legend of Parcival, the stories of Reynard (a French collection of fox fables), »El Cid« and the Spanish novel »Amadis.« This beautifully designed volume employs a typography borrowed from the Irish alphabet and decorative floral elements in the style of the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle ages. (12+)
Russia (Russian) - 1997 - 227
Judin, Georgij Nikolaevič (text/illus.)
Muromskoe čudo. O svjatom bogatyre Il'e Muromce, Petre i Fevronii, episkope Vasilij i okajannom zmee
(The miracle of Murom. The holy hero Ilya Muromec, Peter and Fevroniya, Bishop Vasiliy and the cursed dragon)
Moskva: ģllis Lak, 1995. 144 p.
Murom - Saint - Legend/Russia
Ilya Muromec, who lived in the 12th century, is one of the most important figures of Russian heroic ballads (Byliny). In the course of the centuries he has been promoted to a hero per se in the traditional literature. During the socialist era, however, the religious aspects of the legend were largely downplayed. Here the popular children's book author and illustrator Georgij Judin makes rich use of ikon-like pictures to tell the story of Ilya Muromec and other saints from the region of Murom, about 300 kilometers east of Moscow. He writes in a correspondingly historicizing style, placing considerable emphasis on the religious aspects of the legends. (12+)
Russia (Russian) - 1998 - 221
Moskvina, Marina L. (text)
Burkin, Vladimir (illus.)
Moja sobaka ljubit džaz
(My dog loves jazz)
Moskva: Olimpionik, 1997. 94 p.
Russia - Family - Everyday life
Is this a surrealistic book about the exciting daily life of a Russian family or an authentic portrait of the surrealisic everyday life of a Russian family in post-Soviet times? The sprightly stories, narrated by the youngest son, deal with school problems and special tutoring, with house plants and marital problems, with UFOs, extraterrestials and other strange visitors, with a burning tree and with a mumified and now resurrected German soldier from World War II. The final story tells about the family dachshund »Whale« who accompanies the oldest son to military service in the Pamirs and disappears across the border - but not really quite forever. The bizarre, idiosyncratic illustrations are well-suited to the unconventional text. (11+)
Russia (Russian) - 1999 - 221
Budur, Natal'ja (ed.)
Chryčeva, Tat'jana (design)
Ionajtis, Ol'ga (illus.)
Moskva: Kontrakt, 1997. 414 p.
Russia/Customs and traditions - Christmas
Ever since the fall of Communism there has been considerable effort to present religious themes. While there are hardly any new writings to be found, texts by pre-revolutionary authors and from other European countries are being re-published. This especially attractive book begins with the Christmas story as told in the Book of Luke, and is followed by texts about the birth of Jesus and Christmas celebrations by Russian authors such as Vladimir Nabokov, Aleksandr Blok, Ivan Bunin, Fëdor Dostoevskij, Fëdor Tjutčev, Aleksandr Puškin, Vasilij Žukovskij, Afanasij Fetan, as well as translated pieces by Otfried Preussler, Hans Christian Andersen, Selma Lagerlöf, Elsa Beskow, Viktor Rydberg, Astrid Lindgren und Alf Prøysen, and Christmas tales from England and France. In addition this extensive treasury offers information about food and customs common at the Christmas season in Russia. (8+) ☆
Russia (Russian) - 2000 - 216
Dauwalder, Valerija F. (text/illus.)
Feja Skazka. Izbrannye skazki dlja detej i vzroslych
(The fairy. Selected tales for children and adults)
Nižnij Novgorod: Izdat. Arnika, 1998. 126 p.
The well-known multitalented writer, musician and above all artist Valerija Dauwalder (b.1918) grew up in southern Russia and immigrated with her parents to Switzerland at the age of 16. In this volume she takes up the Russian tradition of the tale told in rhymed verse and offers retellings, on the one hand, using folk tale motifs in folkloristic style, and, on the other hand, creates literary fairy tales that follow the symbolist tradition. While her illustrations reveal an undeniable basing in the art nouveau tradition, they exhibit a broad range of influences from folklorist to avantgarde art. (7+)
Russia (Russian) - 2000 - 217
Jasnov, Michail D. (text)
Černoglazov, V. Ju. (illus.)
Žizn' zamečatel'nych zverej
(The life of famous animals)
Sankt-Peterburg: Obrazovanie-Kul'tura, 1999. 124 p.
(Serija žizn' zamečatel'nych...)
Animal/Biography - Famous figures
Among the famous figures of literature one finds not only humans, but also many animals. Michail D. Jasnov offers a portrait of some of these famed beasts, from the Classical era to the present. This illustrated volume includes, among others, Amaltheia, a nymph in the guise of a goat who was the nursing maid of Zeus in Greek mythology, Bukephalos, Alexander the Great's favorite horse, the war-faring elephants in the literature of classical antiquity, Akka från Kebnekajse, the wild goose in Selma Lagerlöfs story about Nils Holgersson, the television dolphin Flipper, and the tame wild boar Berta. In addition, the author describes the role that various animal species have played in the course of human history. (9+)
Russia (Russian) - 2000 - 218
Oster, Grigorij B. (text)
Burusov, Denis (illus.)
Moskva: Rosmǵn, 1999. 107 p.
(Nauka na vsju žizn')
Sweets - Health
This is the third volume in a series titled »Science for all your life« by Grigorij Oster, who is wellknown for his satirical children's books. He is one of the few Russian authors who have produced truly new books after the collapse of communism and the break-up of the Soviet Union. Designed in the format of a legal code, the books chapters are divided up into articles (§). The main purpose of the work is to outline the science of sweets, or Sweeteatology, how to ruin one's health with sweets as quickly as possible. But of course it also conveys all kinds of further information about the various types of sweets and candies. (7+)
Russia (Russian) - 2000 - 219
Voskobojnikov, Valerij M. (text)
Starostin, A. G. (illus.)
Žizn' zamečatel'nych detej
(The life of famous children)
Sankt-Peterburg: Obrazovanie-Kul'tura, 1997. 172 p.
(Serija žizn' zame atel'nych)
Childhood/Biography - Famous figures
The native St. Petersburg author describes the childhood of famous persons from ancient history, such as Alexander the Great, to the current day, such as the U.S. corporate computer billionaire Bill Gates. In some cases their future path was predictable, but in some cases they had a perfectly normal childhood. The wide range of figures includes the Persian philosopher, natural scientist and physician Avicenna (Ibn Sina), Isaac Newton, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the Russian general Alexander V. Suvorov, the Russian poet Michail J. Lermontov, Thomas Alva Edison, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, the Russian poet Marina Cvetaeva and Charlie Chaplin. (11+)
Russia (Russian) - 2001 - 215
Senkevič, Jurij (text/photos)
Pute šestvie dlinoju v žizn'
(A journey across life)
Moskva : Vagrius, 1999. 379 p.,  p.
(Moj 20 vek)
Senkevič, Jurij - Travel - Expedition - Autobiography
In this entertaining but equally informative and instructive book Jurij Senkevič, world traveller, Thor Heyerdahl's companion on several expeditions and presentor of travel accounts on Russian television, gives a report of his journeys across the former Soviet Union and of his adventures over land and sea all around the world. Having completed his studies of medicine at the military academy, Senkevič took part in an arctic expedition as a member of the medical staff. This was the start to a life of continuous travelling. His very amusing accounts and anecdotes from his childhood and adolescence will also be of special interest to young readers. (13+)
Russia (Russian) - 2001 - 216
Uspenskij, ǵ duard (text)
Grigor'ev, Sergej (illus.)
Grigor'eva, Evgenija (illus.)
Djadja Fëdor idet v školu ili Nǵnsi iz Interneta v Prostokvašino
(Uncle Fedor goes to school, or: Nancy out of the internet into Curdlemilkee)
Sankt-Peterburg : Mir Rebënka, 1999. 93 p.
Rural life - Everyday life - School - Internet
In this moody fantasy set in a Russian village, the popular Russian author of children's literature, ǵduard Uspenskij, gives children an impression of what the internet really is and what one can do with it. Uspenskij plays on the fact that children are much more competent in the use of computers and the internet than most adults. Of course, this leads to a reversal of roles: it is no longer the children who learn from the grown-ups. Instead, Uncle Fedor takes »lessons« with the children. The text is richly illustrated with fun-filled pictures. (9+)
Russia (Russian) - 2002 - 211
Oster, Grigorij (text)
Silina, E. (illus.)
(School of horrors)
[Moskva] : Izdat. Astrel' [et al.], 2001. 87 p.
ISBN 5-271-01359-6; 5-17-003807-0
School – Horror – Humour
In this picture-book-like volume, Grigorij Oster uses his typical dry humour to tell stories about occultism, ghosts, and monsters. They are set in schools and are somehow connected to the syllabus. Despite the fairly modern form of narration, the tales frequently take turns like Romantic fairytales. E. Silina's illustrations, reminiscent of pictures by British illustrator Ralph Steadman, nicely correspond both to the spine-chilling topic and to Grigorij Oster's black humour. (10+)
Russia (Russian) - 2003 - 207
Judin, Georgij N. (text/illus.)
Smirennyj voin : istoričeskaja povest’ o svjatom Georgii Pobedonosce
(The humble warrior : historical tale about the victorious St. George)
Moskva : Russkīj Mīr, 2002. 206 p.
George <patron saint>
In this book, the author, already well known during the times of the Soviet Union, tells the impressive tale of the life, adventures, and miracles that the still popular dragonslayer George is said to have achieved. Decorated by the author himself with vignettes, ornaments, and impressive historic paintings, the book was published on the occasion of the deliverance of a St. George relic from the Holy Land to Moscow by its patriarch Aleksij II. Thus, it is also one of many signs that the church in Russia after the fall of communism is gaining strength. (9+)
Russia (Russian) - 2003 - 208
Minaev, Boris D.
Moskva : Zacharov, 2001. 251 p.
Moscow/1960-1980 – Childhood – Youth
In sometimes cheerful, sometimes sad stories told in first-person narrative, Boris Minaev reconstructs the childhood of a girl in Moscow during the 1960s and 1970s – at home, on the streets, among friends, relatives, and classmates. The author sets himself high demands: He claims to recall everything we encountered as children, particularly the happy moments and the things that influenced us. To remember the past is something that every person has to do in order to link past, present, and future and be able to cope with one’s life. The black-and-white photographs by various photographers draw a clear and yet poetic picture of the life in the Soviet Union. (12+) ☆
Russia (Russian) - 2004 - 205
Moric, Junna (text)
Antonenkov, Evgenij (illus.)
Dvigajte ušami : dlja detej od 5 do 500 let
(Wiggle your ears : for children from 5 to 500)
Moskva : Rosmen, 2003. 148 p.
Junna Pinchusovna Moric (i.e. Junna Petrovna Moric, born in Kyiv in 1937) is one of the most important contemporary Russian poets. In this book, she tells short, mostly bizarre tales in verse, narrated from a child’s perspective with a lot of details. Some stories are centred around children’s experiences told from an unexpected point of view, some answer various »why«-questions, others are puzzles or nonsense verses. In the final of four chapters, acrostics explain different terms. The author perfectly manages to present simple things in a way that renders them interesting – not only for children. Just as in her poetry for adults, she starts from specific everyday-life situations and uses them to point out a deeper reality behind them. The amusing illustrations by Evgenij Antonenkov, painted in a mixture of naturalistic and surrealistic styles, have an international flair without denying their Russian origin. (7+)
Russia (Russian) - 2004 - 206
Vijra, Jurij (text)
Sajfulina, Nastja (illus.)
Aëšin, A. (illus.)
Belyj ëžik u belogo morja : zagadki Njuchli-syščika
(The white hedgehog at the White Sea : the mysteries of detective Snooper)
Moskva : Izdat. »Rudomino«, 2002. 135 p.
Polar animals – Folk tale – Ghost – Detective
During a journey along the coast of the White Sea, Jurij Vijra has recorded 12 folk tales about the white hedgehog. All of these stories contain some characteristic elements and narrative structures of traditional folk tales, yet they are set in the present and involve contemporary objects and situations. In the second part of this book, old Slavic myths are also transported into a modern day Moscow setting. The quirky household ghost . Slavic and Baltic Languages Snooper does some detective work. At the end of each chapter, the readers are asked to answer a question and – with some careful reading and a little bit of reflection – they should easily be able to accomplish this task. (8+)
Russia (Russian) - 2005 - 210
Ball, Georgij (text)
Razuvaev, Michail (illus.)
Razuvaeva, Anna (illus.)
Priključenija Starogo Bašmaka, razkazannye im samim : skazka
(The adventures of the Old Shoe, told by himself : a fairy tale)
Moskva : Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2003. 171 p.
Russia – Travel – Europe – Adventure – Fairy tale
The new book by Georgij Ball is a fairy tale; still, it is not set once upon a time in the land of make-believe, but rather in our modern, ever-changing world. The Old Shoe narrates his search for his younger brother who was stolen by the mysterious Blue Lady. During his journey through Europe, a lot of different children help him, especially little Kartoškoff from Atlantis. Since, in general, children’s literature from Eastern Europe still avoids dealing openly with recent social conflicts, the author of this interesting book for both children and adults resorts to the genre of fairy tale in order to hint at problems that result from political and social changes. (10+)
Russia (Russian) - 2006 - 206
Kaštanova, Alena (text)
Kaštanov, Jurij (illus.)
Moskva : Belyj Gorod, 2004. 47 p.
This attractive volume contains 22 short biographies of women who had an important influence on Russian history or culture. Starting with Countess Olga (Kievan Rus; early 10th century), the author introduces the ataman (Cossack leader) Alena Temnikovskaja (17th century), the actress Varvara Asenkova (19th century), the mathematician Sof’ja Kovalevskaja (1850-1891), and the great Russian poets Marina Cvetaeva (1892-1941) and Anna Achmatova (1889-1966) concluding with the cosmonaut Valentina Tereškova (b. 1939). The texts are accompanied by numerous portraits and pictures that show life during the various eras and were partly created by contemporary artists. (10+)
Russia (Russian) - 2006 - 207
Prokof’eva, Sof’ja L. (text)
Kalinovskij, Gennadij (illus.)
Glazastik i ključ-nevidimka
(Bright Eye and the invisible key)
Moskva : Moskovskie Učebniki i Kartolitografija, 2004. 210 p.
Fairy tale world Laughter – Theft – Magician
In this compelling fairy tale novel written by Sof’ja Prokof’eva, a children’s book author who was already popular in Soviet times, the adolescent magician Alëša, his friend Katja, and the tomcat Vas’ka travel to the fairy tale land, where the evil king has stolen his subjects’ laughter and turned it into golden bells. Alëša manages to solve the mystery of the invisible key, return the joyful laughter to the sad inhabitants of this country, and rescue the brave Master of the Keys from the dungeon. Gennadij Kalinovskij’s expressive illustrations, rendered in various techniques, ingeniously mirror the mood of the respective episodes. (8+)
Russia (Russian) - 2006 - 208
Šergin, Boris (text)
Kormer, Tat’jana (illus.)
Volšebnoe kol’co : skazki
(The magic ring : folk tales)
Moskva : Samokat, 2005. 62 p.
Russia White Sea – Folk tale
This beautifully designed book contains three folk tales by the author and folk tale collector Boris Šergin (1893-1976), who grew up on the coast of the White Sea. This isolated, rough region has almost been untouched by the changeable Russian history. That is why long forgotten traditions and motives have survived there and have also been introduced into new fairy tales, which are not necessarily set in ancient times. Through their fight between Good and Evil, these tales connect the lives of farmers, hunters, and sailors from the 19th and 20th century with the traditional folk tale world. Boris Šergin has faithfully recorded the folk tales from his home region including a lot of variations in the vernacular. The cheerful illustrations follow in the footsteps of Russian folk art and the constructivism of the 1920s and 1930s. (5+)
Russia (Russian) - 2007 - 205
Givargizov, Artur (text)
Aleksandrov, Ivan (illus.)
My tak pochoži
(That’s typical for us)
Moskva : Izdat. Dom »Samokat«, 2006. 79 p.
Animals – School – Daily routine – Nonsense poetry
In these witty nonsense poems about the life of four-legged animals, centipedes, and millipedes, as well as about generals, cosmonauts, and the daily life at school, the author plays with language in a highly artistic way. His multi-layered humour and colloquial phrases easily draw the readers in. The illustrations are rendered in collage-technique with cardboard objects. They reduce the things presented to the most characteristic features and thus perfectly capture the poems’ respective moods. Ivan Aleksandrov uses a minimalist style to create pictures with many different meanings. (5+)
Russia (Russian) - 2007 - 206
Malov, Vladimir I. (text)
Vysockij, P. V. (illus.)
Tajny znamenitych korablej
(The secrets of important ships)
Moskva : Oniks, 2006. 255 p.
In human history, ships have always played a major role as an important means for discovering foreign countries and continents. Certainly one of the most famous vessels is the Santa Maria, the ship with which Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic and landed in America in 1492. Yet, Vladimir Maslov’s tales tell of events dating back even further in history. He starts with the early sailors in the Mediterranean, the Vikings and the Roman galleys on their journeys of discovery. Moreover, the informative and enthralling book includes stories about ships such as the Beagle, on which Charles Darwin embarked on his research voyage, the tea- and wool-clipper Cutty Shark, Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen’s ship Fram, and the Titanic and its sinking in 1912. (11+)
Russia (Russian) - 2007 - 207
Nusinova, Natal’ja I. (text)
Vronskaja, Anna (illus.)
Priključenija Džerika : [avtobiografičeskaja] povest’
(Jerry’s adventures : an [autobiographical] tale)
Moskva : Samokat, 2006. 127 p
USSR/History – Childhood
With this autobiographical tale about the family, home, and country of her »Soviet childhood«, the author bridges the gap between modern Russia and the USSR. It is one of the first books to offer contemporary Russian children an insight into childhood in the Soviet Union from a modern point of view. To achieve this aim, Natal’ja Nusinova uses Jerry, the family dog, as her main protagonist. She gives an authentic and straightforward description of the life at that time through the eyes of a little girl who tries to understand everybody around her and to love them all. The humorous charcoal drawings and the atmospheric and informative photo-collages complement the meaning of the text and at the same time convey the atmosphere of life during the days of the late Soviet Union. (7+)
Russia (Russian) - 2007 - 208
Ulickaja, Ljudmila E. (text)
Filippova, Svetlana (illus.)
Istorija pro vorob’ja Antverpena, kota Micheeva, stoletnika Vasju i sorokonožku Mar’ju Semënovnu s sem’ëj
(The story of sparrow Antwerp, tomcat Micheev, Aloe Vasja, and millipede Mar’ja Semënova and her family)
Moskva : Ėksmo, 2005. 70 p.
Animals – Plants – Anthropomorphism – Friendship – Solidarity – Search for identity
Highly educated Aloe Vasja has been left behind in an empty house where he lives together with a millipede. Since there is plenty of space, the two friends also take in two other homeless creatures: Antwerp, the sparrow, and tomcat Micheev. When the millipede has babies, all the flatmates just squeeze closer together and everybody tries to give their best to raise the millipede children properly. Their solidarity makes them all ponder their own lives and discover new sides to themselves. The full-page wax-crayon illustrations, which are just as imaginative as the text of this cheerful story, radiate great calmness and are often reminiscent of still life paintings. (5+)