Cover image for Egg & spoon
Title:
Egg & spoon
Author:
Maguire, Gregory, author.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2014.
Physical Description:
475 pages ; 23 cm
Summary:
In 1905 czarist Russia, an impoverished country girl Elena and the aristocratic Ekatrina meet and set in motion an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and the witch Baba Yaga.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
700 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG+ 5.6 17.0 168143.
ISBN:
9780763672201
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

In this tour de force, master storyteller Gregory Maguire offers a dazzling novel for fantasy lovers of all ages.

Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar's army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg -- a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena's age. When the two girls' lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and -- in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured -- Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs.


Author Notes

Gregory Maguire was born June 9, 1954 in Albany, New York. He received a B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany and a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Tufts University. He is a founder and co-director of Children's Literature New England, Incorporated, a non-profit educational charity established in 1987.

He writes for both adults and children. His first book, The Lighting Time, was published in 1978. His adult works include Wicked, Confessions of and Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men. The Broadway play Wicked is based on his book of the same title. His children's books include the picture book Crabby Cratchitt, the novel The Good Liar, and the Hamlet Chronicles series.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Maguire knows witches look no further than the smash hit Wicked (1995) and here he sets his sights on Baba Yaga, the child-eating, metal-toothed crone who dwells in a hut carried along on a pair of chicken legs. Privileged, wealthy 11-year-old Cat tumbles out of a train while trying to catch an intricate Faberge egg, and in a classic case of mistaken identity starving-peasant Elena takes her place. While Elena takes advantage of Cat's riches (and her myopic aunt), Cat encounters Baba Yaga's capricious cabin in a snowy glade, and, in an uncharacteristically charitable turn, the witch helps Cat and Elena set everything including famine-stricken Russia to rights. Although Cat and Elena's burgeoning friendship and determination make for a heartening story, it's Maguire's Baba Yaga, full of irreverent anachronisms and a salty attitude, who steals the show sometimes, in fact, overpowering the rest of the story. Maguire's fantastical world is filled with Russian folklore and history, particularly the growing unrest that eventually led to the October Revolution, and though Cat and Elena's quest at times feels overstuffed, the whimsical tone and lush setting are still plenty appealing. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Maguire's got an expansive audience, thanks to his best-selling novels, not to mention the blowout success of the musical version of Wicked.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

An imprisoned monk narrates this fabulist tale from Maguire, which draws inspiration from Russian folklore, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, while incorporating a modern thread about the threat of climate change. On her way to be presented to the Tsar's godson, wealthy Ekaterina is marooned in a rural village when a broken bridge stops her train. Peasant Elena approaches the luxurious train to beg, and the two girls take tentative steps toward friendship; when the train starts moving again, the wrong one is aboard. The journey to their eventual reunion brings Ekaterina in contact with legendary witch Baba Yaga. Though the setting is circa 1900, Maguire's riffs are mostly contemporary: Baba Yaga complains about regifting, owns the original cast recording from Damn Yankees, and bemoans that she's out of "Granny Yaga's Frozen Tater Tots, made from real tots." Like the matryoshka doll Elena carries, there are a lot of layers to Maguire's story. Rich, descriptive language will reward readers who like to sink their teeth into a meaty story. Ages 12-up. Agent: William Reiss, John Hawkins and Associates. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-With one brother conscripted into the Tsar's army and another bound to serve a local landowner, Elena is left alone to care for her widowed and ailing mother in early 20th-century Russia. When an elegant train bearing a noble her age rolls through their barren village, Elena and her counterpart, Cat, accidentally swap places. Twin journeys to restore their former stations in life lead to encounters with murderous kittens, royal families, and even the famed witch Baba Yaga, and the challenges that lie ahead go far beyond a simple mix-up. Maguire marries the traditional "Prince and the Pauper" narrative to the Russian folktale of Baba Yaga with his trademark wit and aplomb. His lyrical descriptions of the drab countryside are equally detailed and moving as the charmed, floating courts of the Romanov dynasty. Each character is well-drawn and fascinating, whether its the prim, terrified governess to young Ekaterina or Baba Yaga herself, a cannibal with a heart of gold constantly cracking wise in her enchanted, walking house. The author weaves a lyrical tale full of magic and promise, yet checkered with the desperation of poverty and the treacherous prospect of a world gone completely awry. Egg and Spoon is a beautiful reminder that fairy tales are at their best when they illuminate the precarious balance between lighthearted childhood and the darkness and danger of adulthood.-Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter's Prep, Jersey City, NJ (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.