“Would you like a story about a princess, Karina?”
“Maybe one of those stories about a princess and monsters, Baba.”
The direction Baba’s story takes surprises herself as well as her granddaughter. This folk tale ‘about memories and families’ begins with a lovely cottage in the Ukraine and a little girl ‘poor of money but rich of soul.’ But all too soon the Monsters come. And everything changes forever.
What will happen to our princess and all the other children in this frightening world where the monsters roam? After sad events, the little girl finds a matryoshka doll, and inside the doll a message of hope. Will the children be able to escape to safety? Listen closely, as Babushka unfolds her story.
Mawson’s Guardian says: Who do you think the monsters might be? They are the soviet soldiers who, in 1932, stripped the Ukraine of so much grain that millions died of famine, and who transported thousands of people to Siberia. It is a hard story of awful history (‘The Holodomor’) and I am only now learning about it (!) in a deftly written children’s picture book.
I admire this approach to telling about a confronting subject. Using the form of a folk tale the author employs just enough words and no more. Being a children’s book, the illustrations by Vinicius Melo do not directly show awful things but the colours and details suggest more than enough, and the images are all the more powerful because of that. The contrast between Katrina’s gorgeous little cottage with the sleeping dog, for instance, and the harsh red sky and black silhouettes on the next page tells us in one instant how much her world has changed. In the picture of Katrina hiding under the bed in the darkness, everything in the shadows looks scary, even the old stove, and her big eyes show her terror.
With this story of drama and hope, Carola Schmidt has, I think, created a wonderful little book that confronts a hard part of history that will intrigue grownups as well as children.
About the Author: Carola Schmidt, the author of the Babushka Tales series, is a Pediatric Oncology Pharmacist. She has written scientific books on paediatric oncology and also, for children and their families, Chubby’s Tale . Mawson and friends proudly read and reviewed Chubby’s brave story here. You can find Chubby on Twitter and on Facebook.
Carola’s Amazon Author Page is here where you can find these books and her other titles listed.
The next post on Mawson’s den will be about Babushka is Homesick.
You have wandered into Mawson Bear’s web-den. Mawson is the Writer-Bear of It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In . “Reading this book is like receiving a great big hug of reassurance and a huge hot chocolate with fluffy marshmallows.” Review by Lady Bracknell