BABA YAGA’s ASSISTANT by Marika McCoola is an engaging middle-grade graphic novel fantasy featuring a central character in Russian folklore.
Masha isn’t looking forward to a new stepmother and stepsister, so she decides to leave the family and apply for a job as Baba Yaga’s apprentice. She inherited a love of folklore and bit of magic from her grandmother, but that may not be enough to save her from this supernatural old woman who preys on children and flies around in a mortar wielding a pestle.
McCoola builds a convincing bridge between old folklore and modern society in this well-written, fast-paced graphic fantasy. Emily Carroll’s convincing illustrations draw readers into the plot. Of particular note are the beautifully bordered folktale sequences woven throughout the story.
This spooky, yet lighthearted tale will delight readers who enjoy fairy tales, but it will also be a hit with graphic novel fans. Librarians looking for age-appropriate graphic novels for middle grade children will be thrilled with this short, illustrated work. Teachers will enjoy the many curriculum connections related to folklore.
Published by Candlewick Press on August 4, 2015.