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)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


BABOUSHKA AND THE THREE KINGS (ages 4-8) by Ruth Robbins, illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov, is the story about an old woman who, on a cold winter's night, hears a knock on her door.  She lifts the latch and looks out, to see three strangers standing in her doorway.  She stares in wonder at "their elegant dress, their frosted beards, their kind eyes."  They tell her they have been following a bright star to where a Baby has been born, but have become lost. They invite her to come with them in order to try to find the Child and offer Him gifts. But Baboushka is cold and hasn't finished her day's work.  She asks them to stay the night so that she can go with them in the morning.  They tell her there is not time to linger and they continue their journey without her.  She finishes her work, sits down to her lonely supper and begins to feel "a sudden tenderness and joy for the new born Child".  She becomes determined to find this new Babe and offer Him her poor, but heartfelt gifts.  She leaves at dawn but never finds Him, as she wanders from village to village.  She renews her search year after year at the time of His birth, and the children of the villages find joy "in the poor but precious gifts she leaves behind her in the silent night."

A little trivia (or controversy, depending on how you look at it):
The inside title page of BABOUSHKA AND THE THREE KINGS says the story is "Adapted From A Russian Folk Tale"; and at the end of BABOUSHKA AND THE THREE KINGS is the text of a poem, "BABOUSHKA, A RUSSIAN LEGEND", written by an American, Edith M. Thomas, in 1907.  In reality there is no such tale from Russia!  But there is a legend very much like this from Italy - about Old Befana.  (author and illustrator Tomie dePaola has a wonderful version of this story).

OLD BEFANA retold by Tomie dePaola (ages 4-8)

1 comment:

  1. Baboushka and the 3 kings looks like an interesting book...I'll have to look for that one! For some reason, I'm not a huge Tomie DePaolo fan...