Nominated by: Hilary MacMeekin (@HLMacmeekin), Headteacher and also by Kate Gieler (@Glebelove2read), Primary School Librarian & Teacher
Hilary says: "I have always loved the Baba Yaga stories, loved having them read to me as a child and reading them to my children as a parent. So it should have been no surprise that I loved this book. But this beautiful book is so much more than a retelling of a traditional story. It conjures up the life beyond the role, their day to day lives, the relationships they build. The beauty of these everyday lives. The relationship between Marinka and her grandmother is filled with the everyday challenges of growing up and growing old. It will make you smile and make you cry in equal measures. A book to read again and again."
Kate says: As Mary Poppins tells us, 'The cover is not the book', but as soon as I saw Melissa Castrillon's stunning art work, I knew I would fall in love with this story. Every shape and stroke caught my eye, inviting me to step inside and devour every page. It was a delightful feast of rich language and words that danced on the pages between Elisa Paganelli’s captivating illustrations. Sophie Anderson’s exquisite tale, The House With Chicken Legs, won my heart and my daughter’s as we read it together in the garden on a warm spring day. When I looked up after an hour of reading aloud to my then 6 year old, I saw my neighbour – her head resting on her arms as she leant on the fence top – hooked on every word. The magic in Sophie’s story-telling wrapped around us like a warm hug – bonding us tighter as mother and daughter as we journeyed further with Marinka; living her loneliness, experiencing her grief, finding comfort with her friends and overcoming her challenges with her. My daughter hugged me a little bit tighter in the breath-taking moments, she gasped as I read the scenes at The Gate and when I turned the final page and closed the book, she had tears in her eyes. I was worried it had been too much for a 6 year old (though very much a bookworm already), but they were tears of grief for a lost friend – she wanted more from Marinka and more from Sophie: “She will write more, won’t she?”. Mini-me went on to re-read the story for herself, becoming more a reader with every chapter - fluent in expression, emotion and passion. Her copy has pride of place on the bookshelf above her bed as well as a special place in her heart. I know we will always think of The House With Chicken Legs as, ‘our book’ and for that reason it is my book of the year."
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