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Russian Fairy Tales (The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. This richly illustrated collection includes five popular Russian folk tales: Vasilisa the Beautiful; Maria Morevna; The Feather of Finist the Falcon; The Frog-Tsarevna; Tsarevich Ivan, the Firebird...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Not In English

Despite the description saying this was the English language version, I recieved a book in Russian.

Gives me a deeper fascination with Russian culture

I really enjoyed reading these Russian Fairy Tales collected by Alexander Afanasev. These stories are (at least in the Western world) very surreal, but they don't lack a good flow and a good sense of imagination at all. I especially enjoyed the tales that involved talking animals and mythological creatures (such as the Firebird and Baba-Yaga). Much of these are short and very simplistic (partyl because of the English translation), but sometimes less is more. The only problem I've had with these tales is that they're sometimes repetitive. Some stories have the same structure: third time being the charm, boy gets girl in the end, boy is resurrected from the dead, the bronze and silver and golden kingdoms appear, etc. It's this repetitive structure that makes later stories seem predictable. That one problem aside, this book is a must-own for those who are fascinated with Russian mythology, or Russian culture, or Russian fantasy, or just Russian in general.

Great set of night time stories

I got this book to read to my 4 1/2 year old daughter. I have been reading her a few a night and she loves them. There are tons of short fairy tales which are both magical and fun. I can easily read two a night for months! Many stories involve Baba Yaga who is one of our favorite characters. I like the fact that "witches" and other magical beings represent complex characters capable of both good and evil. This is in stark contrast to many more well known fairy tales where the witch, is portrayed to be just evil. The stories are also less dark and frightening and frequently funnier. The book uses a rich vocabulary which is proving a valuable tool in teaching my daughter as well as myself. In short, I like it and strongly recommend it.

Beautifully illustrated, charming folk and fairy tales.

"Innocent young maidens cast into the grips of horrible old hags, frogs who are really princesses awaiting the right kiss, magical spindles and feathers, precious golden apples -- these and other classic fairytale ingredients are to be found in this superb collection of seven traditional Russian stories. Collected by Afanasyev, "the Russian Grimm," and splendidly decorated with the peotic and colorful illustrations of Ivan Bilibin, renowned nineteenth-century scenic artist, the stories share the common themes of good versus evil, psychic transformation, and rebirth. Children will be enchanted and adults intrigued by the sinister and delightful qualities of these traditional folk tales." -- excerpt from dust jacket. This collection of fairy tales is, indeed, marvelous. It contains seven classic stories: *Ivan Tsarevich, the grey wolf, and the firebird *Sister Alyonushka and brother Ivanushka *Finist the falcon *Marya Morevna *The white duck *Vasilisa the beautiful *The frog princess While the stories are entertaining in themselves, the illustrations really deserve the most praise. Bilibin's work is reminiscent of Alfonse Mucha's Art Nouveau pieces -- possibly the best is Bilibin's painting of Vasilisa escaping from Baba Yaga's hut, carrying an enchanted skull mounted on a stick. (Light pours from the empty eye sockets; that's how Vasilisa can see to leave.) Not to be missed by collectors or lovers of fairy tales and fantasy -- the artwork alone is worth the purchase.


I've owned this book for roughly 5 years and I still pick it up and read some of the stories or flip through the pages to look at the beautiful and eerie illustrations. I am a big fan of Russian culture, history and especially the mythology and old Slav folklore. These stories are fascinating for children and even more intriguing for adults because of the underlying themes and complexities, metaphorical and political subtext in relation to historical Russian culture and the traditional style of narrative language and tone. Filled with dark humour, intelligent and imaginative twists and lots of charming and weird characters, this book is timeless. You'll find yourself picking it up and reading through it before bed every so-often for ages to come.

A huge collection

What the Grimm Brothers did for fairy tales in Germany, Afanas'ev did for Russia. Over the course of his lifetime(1826-1871), he collected countless of these wonderful little stories from common folk, just as the Grimms did. This collection contains stories of adventure and enchantment, animal fables and more. Included are stories of Vasilissa and Baba Yaga, the witch whose house was built on chicken feet, and the famous story of the giant turnip. There's even some stories about vampires. But be prepared, this book is huge! And every bit of it distinctly Russian.
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