{Review} TWO TRICKSTER TALES FROM RUSSIA retold by Sophie Masson

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Check out last year's FTF 
interview with author Sophie Masson!

Sophie also stopped by in February for an interview about her new book CRYSTAL HEART!

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

MASHA LIVED WITH HER GRANDPARENTS in a little village near a big forest. She enjoyed cooking with her babushka and whistling tunes with her dyedushka but she dreamed of going berry-picking with he older girls in the forest.
(pg. 4, AU paperback Edition)

It was so refreshing to see a picture book featuring tales I'm not familiar with. I know Sophie Masson best as the author of YA novels MOONLIGHT AND ASHES (Cinderella), SCARLET IN THE SNOW (Beauty and the Beast), and the upcoming novel THE CRYSTAL HEART (Rapunzel). I was excited to see that she'd started her own publishing company, Christmas Press, and was releasing a picture book featuring two Russian trickster tales.

While both tales featured in the picture book start off in ways reminiscent of tales I know and love, they slowly twist into their own stories. They're all about characters in bad situations who are able to outwit the "villain" and come out triumphant.

I don't want to spoil the tales by giving too much else away, but I loved the sense of triumph, the simple language that will appeal to children and the traditional-style illustrations of David Allan.

Plus, there's a fox in the second tale, The Rooster with the Golden Crest. He's not a very good fox, granted, but I adore foxes. (Pinterest is proof of that! My fox-inspired board is 232 pictures strong...and counting!)

Perhaps because I love foxes so much, my favorite tale of the two is actually that of Masha and the Bear. But I also liked this tale of triumph the best!

While Christmas Press is an Australian company, they have a website that sells books internationally via Paypal. Later this month, the company is launching its second picture book, TWO SELKIE STORIES FROM SCOTLAND by Kate Forsyth (Who stopped by FTF earlier this week. Check it out!)  and illustrated by Fiona McDonald. They'll also be releasing TWO TALES OF TWINS FROM ANCIENT GREECE AND ROME retold by Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by David Allan in August, followed by ONCE UPON A CHRISTMAS ANNUAL compiled and edited by Beattie Alvarez, along with two already-planned books in 2015, TWO TENGU TALES FROM JAPAN retold by Duncan Ball and illustrated by David Allan, and TWO FEARSOME FAIRY TALES FROM FRANCE retold by Adèle Geras and illustrated by Fiona McDonald.

Here's a vlog featuring a quick look at the book:

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Retold by Sophie Masson with illustrations from David Allan
Release Date: Sept. 1, 2013
Publisher: Christmas Press

TWO TRICKSTER TALES FROM RUSSIA includes the lively, funny Russian folktales, Masha and the Bear and The Rooster with the Golden Crest, retold in a fresh and engaging style by award-winning writer Sophie Masson, author of more than fifty books for children and young adults. It is the first book for new illustrator David Allan, and his gorgeous illustrations are inspired by classic Russian children's picture books. Suitable for a wide age range, TWO TRICKSTER TALES FROM RUSSIA is a delight to read aloud to young children, as well as for older children to read on their own.