Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Monday, November 8, 2010


Born in a small town near Moscow, Russia, on Christmas Day, 1948, Gennady Spirin had an artistic talent recognized at an early age.  He graduated from Surikov School of Fine Art at the Academy of Arts in Moscow and Moscow Stoganov Institute of Art.  He developed his own style over the years, combining traditional Russian contemporary art technique with the great traditions of the Renaissance.  His sumptuous colors and delicate lines set his unique illustrations in a class of their own; they are full of realistic precision, but also have an ethereal quality that lends itself perfectly to both classics and fairy tale stories.

My next post will feature some of his fairy tale adaptations, but today I want to share two of his picture books written by classic authors of Russian literature...

PHILIPOK - this is a retelling of Tolstoy's simple tale set in 19th-century Russia. Young Philipok wants nothing more than to go to school with his elder brother, Peter. He waits until his grandmother falls asleep, gets his hat and coat, and sets out through the snow to the schoolhouse on the other side of the village. Cold and frightened when he arrives, he earns the privilege of staying at school.

KASHTANKA In this rather quirky story by Anton Chekov (also set in 19th-Century Russia), a dog, separated from her master, is taken in by a kindly circus performer.   Kashtanka quickly adjusts to her new surroundings, which are shared with a goose, a white cat, and a pig - but in the end she is heartwarmingly reunited with her original owners. (ages 8 and up)

1 comment:

  1. We were given "Philipok" as a gift and thoroughly enjoy it. What an amazing artist! I've seen some of his other books. I will be looking for "Kashtanka." Looks so sweet...thanks for sharing!