Cover image for Luba and the wren
Luba and the wren
Polacco, Patricia.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Philomel Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
In this variation on the story of "The Fisherman and His Wife, " a young Ukrainian girl must repeatedly return to the wren she has rescued to relay her parents' increasingly greedy demands.
Reading Level:
AD 520 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.0 0.5 35045.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.9 2 Quiz: 17310 Guided reading level: P.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PZ8.P755 LU 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
Newstead Library PZ8.P755 LU 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Eden Library PZ8.P755 LU 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library PZ8.P755 LU 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Hamburg Library PZ8.P755 LU 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Kenmore Library PZ8.P755 LU 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Lackawanna Library PZ8.P755 LU 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Orchard Park Library PZ8.P755 LU 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library PZ8.P755 LU 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
Audubon Library PZ8.P755 LU 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales

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Dear Luba, she lives so happily in her dacha in the country with her mama and papa-until she helps a frightened wren! She only means to help the wren, as she would any creature, but when the wren returns the favor, how Luba's life changes! "Ask for anything you wish," the wren says. Luba wants nothing, but her mama and papa want a rich estate. Then to be lords, then czar and czarina-then rulers of the world! Where will it end?In this blazing texture of color, Patricia Polacco, one of America's best-loved storytellers, brings to her many readers a Russian-style turn on The Fisherman and his Wife, introducing an enchanting new character whose love for simplicity wins the day and the lives of her parents.

Author Notes

Patricia Polacco was born in Lansing, Michigan on July 11, 1944. She attended Oakland Tech High School in Oakland, California before heading off to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, then Laney Community College in Oakland. She then set off for Monash University, Mulgrave, Australia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia where she received a Ph.D in Art History, Emphasis on Iconography.

After college, she restored ancient pieces of art for museums. She didn't start writing children's books until she was 41 years old. She began writing down the stories that were in her head, and was then encouraged to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. There she learned how to put together a dummy and get a story into the form of a children's picture book. Her mother paid for a trip to New York, where the two visited 16 publishers in one week. She submitted everything she had to more than one house. By the time she returned home the following week, she had sold just about everything.

Polacco has won the 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award for The Keeping Quilt, and the 1989 International Reading Association Award for Rechenka's Eggs. She was inducted into the Author's Hall of Fame by the Santa Clara Reading Council in 1990, and received the Commonwealth Club of California's Recognition of Excellence that same year for Babushka's Doll, and again in 1992 for Chicken Sunday. She also won the Golden Kite Award for Illustration from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for Chicken Sunday in 1992, as well as the Boston Area Educators for Social Responsibility Children's Literature and Social Responsibility Award. In 1993, she won the Jane Adams Peace Assoc. and Women's Intl. League for Peace and Freedom Honor award for Mrs. Katz and Tush for its effective contribution to peace and social justice. She has won Parent's Choice Honors for Some Birthday in 1991, the video Dream Keeper in 1997 and Thank You Mr. Falker in 1998. In 1996, she won the Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children's Literature. Her titles The Art of Miss. Chew and The Blessing Cup made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 6^-8. This original story draws on a motif used in "The Fisherman and His Wife" and other folktales. When young Luba rescues an enchanted wren, it promises to grant her wishes. Modestly, she herself wants no reward, but her parents demand bigger houses, then rulership of the Ukraine, all Russia, and the world, and, finally, "to be as Gods." With increasing irritation, the wren complies--and at the end, Luba finds her parents as poor and loving as they started out, with no memory of their former grandeur. Younger children, at least, will need an explanation to make sense of this, but they will understand Luba's embarrassment at her parents' greed; and Polacco's freely brushed watercolors are bright with decorative borders, richly patterned clothing, and exotic onion domes. For a pointed lesson on the perils of careless wishing, pair this with Paul Galdone's version of The Three Wishes (1961) or with Margaret Read MacDonald's The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle (1995). --John Peters

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Even if it is a bit subtle, the happy ending puts an agreeable spin on the standard version of [`The Fisherman and His Wife'], teaching the same moral in a light and positive manner," said PW. "A timeless, vigorously illustrated tale." Ages 4-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2A variation of a traditional tale. Looking for mushrooms in the forest, a young girl saves a wren from a fowlers net and to show its gratitude, the bird grants her any wish. Luba realizes that she is content and when she declines the wish, the wren tells her, If ever you want for anything, come to the forest and call me. When the child tells her parents about the incident, they send her back to the wren five times, each time asking for a grander home and more riches until, after they have become Emperor and Empress of all the world, they ask to be as Gods. When the wish is granted, they are returned to their former peasant life, but are truly contented and realize that Luba is their greatest treasure. Polaccos signature illustrations are lush and vibrant. The regal colors of royal blue and crimson play against deep green, dappled brown, and ocher of the natural world. Rosy-cheeked Luba appears humble and honest in her babushka and Ukrainian peasant apparel throughout, while her parents, as they increasingly receive greater material wealth, don the clothing of royalty. Scrolled, intricate frames set the text apart from the lively folk-artlike illustrations. Like Rosemary Wellss The Fisherman and His Wife (Dial, 1998), this picture book examines true happiness and the snares of yearning for material things.Shawn Brommer, Southern Tier Library System, Painted Post, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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