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The House with Chicken Legs Paperback – 3 May 2018
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This vividly imagined blend of fairy tale and coming-of-age novel reflects perceptively on death and loss ― The Sunday Times
This original debut takes a poignant, philosophical look at predestination and free choice, and features delectable food descriptions, cheeky jackdaws and a frolicking lamb. ― The Guardian
This magical adventure story has the feel of a modern fairytale. ― The Week Junior, Book of the Week
Enticing, a little bit dangerous, and thrumming with possibilities. ― Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Girl of Ink and Stars
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- Publisher : Usborne Publishing Ltd (3 May 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1474940668
- ISBN-13 : 978-1474940665
- Reading age : 9 - 12 years
- Item Weight : 299 g
- Dimensions : 13 x 2.3 x 19.9 cm
- Country of Origin : United Kingdom
- Best Sellers Rank: #26,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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By ANand on 30 March 2021
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I think (although early days) this is going to be an addictive read for him. So, I have no option but to rate this book 10 out of 5 ;-)
Marinka lives with her grandmother, Baba Yaga, in a house that can't keep itself still for long, and travels the world on its long chicken legs. The house itself has remarkable sentience that has allowed it to be Marinka's friend and playmate for most of her childhood, but now she's older, she longs for a real-life living human friend, and to settle down in one place so she can do all the kinds of things normal kids do.
For at least the first half of this book Marinka drove me crazy. She's a very selfish character who makes a lot of very stupid, selfish mistakes, but despite how infuriating she was at times, her selfishness is one of the things that made her feel so very real to me. It made perfect sense for her to be like that, having never really had real friends, having been coddled by Baba Yaga for much of her life, and from being so desperately confused about herself and what she wants from life. Marinka's flaws were etched very deeply into her character and behaviour right from the start, but her journey is one of the most interesting I've seen in a middle-grade book in several years. You can really see her learning and changing; her emotions ebb and flow (like all children's) and she has to learn how to process and understand so much so fast. By the end of the book, Marinka is a very different person, and I loved that transformation and going on that journey with her.
The world of the Yagas was intriguing and beautifully evoked, with very immersive and visual writing. The world felt so much larger and richer than just the small bits of it we saw, with a long implied history that was often hinted at. This world felt fully-realised. The only thing that dropped this down from 5 stars was that I think Marinka needed to have some redeeming qualities a little earlier because I'm not sure she should have been so unlikable for most of the first half. But her transformation is wonderful and this book truly is brilliantly twisty and full of the unexpected.
This book deserves all the praise that has been showered on it. The writing is stunning, dealing with light and dark themes, and overall a feeling of hope. I loved Marinka’s voice, and the descriptions of Russian food are good enough to fill your nostrils.
By the end you’ll want a Jackdaw that tucks bread in your socks, and a house with chicken legs to take you over the mountains.