Review Blog

Jan 31 2014

Two trickster tales from Russia, retold by Sophie Masson

cover image

Ill. by David Allan. Christmas Press, 2014. ISBN 9780992283803. Audio book ISBN 9780992283810.
(Age: All) Highly recommended. Picture book, Folk tales. The illustrations in this beautiful book impelled me to open the book to read, the front cover indicating the style Allan has used to compliment Masson's words. He uses a combination of black and white, and sometimes coloured images. For emphasis some images coves a double page, but more often, images are smaller and framed, with the frame sitting in front of another image, giving a three dimensional effect. Panels are used at the top and bottom of the page, and sometimes down the side, which along with the black outlined pictures, gives a wood block printing effect harking back to books of old. The illustrations draw the eye in to look at the detail encased within the borders, and readers will love the effect given.
The two stories retold by Sophie Masson, one of a girl, Masha, outsmarting a bear and the other about a preening rooster. In the first Mash goes out picking berries but soon becomes lost, walking into a house where porridge sits on the stove. She eat some with her berries only to find the owner, the Bear comes in and keeps her there to do his cooking. Eventually she convinces him to take a basket of pies to her parents and hides inside the basket, she has become so thin.
In the second tale a fabulous rooster is tricked repeatedly by the fox. He is always rescued by his friends, the thrush and the cat, until one day he is almost eaten. The animals trick the fox and she runs away. Two well told stories made even more interesting with the stunning illustrations should make a useful addition to the school library. Christmas Press is a new publisher set up by Sophie Masson, David Allan and Fiona McDonald in Armidale NSW, more information can be found at
My review copy came with a CD for listening to the two stories.
Fran Knight

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