Publication Date: 3 May 2018
Cover illustration by Melissa Castrillon (@mv_castrillon)
Marinka wants to be an ordinary girl, with an ordinary life – a life that allows her to do what other living children do. Most of all, she wants to stay in one place and have friends. Real, living, human friends, not just her jackdaw and her special house.
Being the granddaughter of Baba Yaga, however, means that she must spend her days preparing for nights spent guiding the dead through the Gate, and moving from place to place whenever their house with chicken legs decides.
With her Baba and her house both set on her becoming the next Yaga, how can Marinka ever break free of her destiny and live the normal life she longs for beyond their fence of bones?
A stunning reimagining of the Russian folk tale of Baba Yaga. Sophie has created a breathtaking adventure, that envelops the reader in a huge comforting hug. Marinka’s desire to have a life with the living, a life that goes against her destiny, is in turns courageous and selfish, yet utterly understandable – a wish that as the reader, I desperately hoped would come true for her.
But, it’s her love for, and determination to be reunited with her Baba that makes this such an enchanting and compelling read, which both breaks your heart and heals it. Courageous, hopeful and packed with love, The House With Chicken Legs shines like the stars on the blackest of nights.
The hauntingly beautifully internal illustrations by Elisa Paganelli (@elisaupsidedown) add an extra layer of depth to this very special book that has it’s own place on the bookshelf in my heart.
I always find reviews for books I really love the hardest to write, and this was no exception. As I was reading, I received the devastating news that my friend’s daughter had died suddenly. The thought of reading about death was too much, so I took a break, but Marinka’s story kept calling to me, and I was soon immersed once more. It was absolutely the story I needed to read, and brought me much needed comfort – that reminder that the people we love never truly leave us, and their spirit lives on in our hearts.
About the author…
Sophie Anderson grew up in Swansea, studied at Liverpool University, and has worked as a geologist, science teacher and text book author. Sophie was inspired to love stories by her Prussian grandmother who fled her homeland during WW2, losing her family in the process. She carried the stories, music and food of her home in her soul and brought them with her to Wales…and to her granddaughter Sophie. Growing up it was the tale of the chicken-legged house that captured Sophie’s imagination the most. She thought it would be incredible to live in a house that could take you to see new places or to visit the homelands of ancestors. Now living in the Lake District with her husband, Sophie enjoys the freedom of home schooling her three children, fell walking, canoeing and daydreaming.
Make sure you check out Sophie’s Guest Post for my stop on The House With Chicken Legs Blog Tour, the first of 15 of her favourite Russian Fairytales.
Huge thanks to Fritha and Usbourne for sending me an early review copy and a stunning finished copy, and for inviting me to take part in The House With Chicken Legs Blog Tour.