The Tale of the Firebird – Gennady Spirin
translated by Tatiana Popova
Art Passions, the website, focuses primarily on late 19th century and Golden Age illustrators. However, I sometimes run across a contemporary children’s book that is both well-written and whose illustration I want to share. I’ve run into a few recently and I will try to review them here.
Such a sharable book is The Tale of the Firebird by Gennady Spirin.
In this version of The Firebird Tale, Spirin combines three stories – The Firebird, Baba Yaga, and Koshchei the Immortal. I have some reservations about mixing the stories because they are classics and, although there are variants, I’d rather have seen the three stories kept separate within one book. Whether he should have combined the stories or not, Spirin does it well. There are no questions left hanging.
This is a book to make children love books before ever learning to read. Each page is generously illustrated and the illustrations are exquisite, down to the page numbers.
The illustrations do not tell the story but beautifully make you wonder, “Oooh, what’s happening here?”
The characters are gentle without being sentimental. I even find myself liking Baba Yaga:
and Koschei the Immortal seems more of a rogue than an evil adversary:
As the spirit moves me, I’ll do a short review of the book here and share some of the pictures. You can list the reviews by selecting the “picture books” tag.
I bought and paid for this book myself. Reading level is Grades 2 through 5, but it’s the sort of book you read to younger children so often that they learn the words by heart. You can find The Firebird at Amazon.