Philomel Books, Penguin Young Readers Group, 1988
From the dust jacket, “Old Babushka, known throughout all of Moskva for her beautifully painted eggs, is preparing her eggs for the Easter festival when she takes in an injured goose. She names the goose Rechenka, and they live happily together until one day when Rechenka accidently overturns a basket, breaking all of Babushka’s lovingly crafted eggs.
“But the next morning Babushka has a surprise awaiting her in the basket. She cries: “A miracle!” It is one of many in this charmingly told tale of friendship and caring.
“With vibrant, full-color illustrations, Patricia Polacco has joyously re-created the flavor of Old Moscow and its festivals. The eggs, stunningly colored and intricately designed, are authentic reproductions of eggs painted in the Ukrainian style. Rechenka’s Eggs is a timeless story of classic beauty.”
When I first read the book, I was struck by the illustrations – very colorful, lots of different patterns on eggs and clothes – but the face of Babushka was drawn with pencil (or maybe charcoal) and left in black and white. It’s a very striking juxtaposition of 2 opposites – color versus black and white. And I love the detailed wrinkles in the old woman; she has the classic beauty of old age and much wisdom.
I liked the story, the compassion Babushka shows the goose in bringing her in from the snow after she’d been shot, and the caring for her while she healed. She didn’t even cook that goose when Rechenka broke all those eggs!!! Talk about love and patience! In the end, Babushka’s kindness was rewarded several times over with a lovely surprise in the end.
The print is small to medium and there is a lot of text to read so older kittens may want to read it for themselves or to their younger siblings. We don’t see the goose getting shot – only the aftermath as she falls out of the sky; but this one picture is the only bad or violent incident in the book.
Rating 4 out of 5 paws because the illustrations of Babushka were wonderful and the story was a surprise to me.