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A Short Novel in Verse – Finding Baba Yaga by Jane Yollen

By May 23, 2019No Comments

“You Think you know this story.

You do not.

You think it’s about a princess who runs

from a wicked king.

It is not.”

Excerpt from Finding Baba Yaga by Jane Yollen


A young woman discovers the power to speak up and take control of her fate—a theme that has never been more timely than it is now…

You think you know this story. 
You do not.

A harsh, controlling father. A quiescent mother. A house that feels like anything but a home. Natasha gathers the strength to leave, and comes upon a little house in the wood: A house that walks about on chicken feet and is inhabited by a fairy tale witch. In finding Baba Yaga, Natasha finds her voice, her power, herself….

A mythic yet timely novel-in-verse by the beloved and prolific author and poet Jane Yolen, “the Hans Christian Andersen of America.”


  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Paperback
  • 144 pages
  • Published October 30th, 2018 by
  • Original Title Finding Baba Yaga
  • Edition Language English

My Thoughts

Says: Telling the future is dead easy, girl,

easier when you’re already dead inside.

Excerpt from Finding Baba Yaga by Jane Yollen

This is an incredible idea, but not one that you can easily plow through. It needs to be savored like a fine wine or cheese. Taste each stanza, mull over each word, contemplate Yollen’s direction for the story. Each word is soaked in meaning and brimming with narrative.

When I first started reading this story, I honestly did not know what to expect. I don’t know much about the legend of Baba Yaga. I still don’t really feel like I do. But, I think I have a deeper sense of the legends meaning and what Baba Yaga means for Russian mythology and legend.

I step onto the path,
knowing it is but the beginning,
one foot, then the other,
till I gleam silver all over,
in the moonlight.

The overarching themes of the story are very direct and present. In the beginning, we have the controlling father and the harshness of a house that is not a home. Later we have the escape, starvation, and running to the forest to find freedom. The teenage girl finds the house with the chicken legs and begins to live with Baba Yaga, learning all of her magic. With this independence, the girl learns to trust and confidence in herself and who she is inside. I think this is an important thing to take away from this book. The girl finds freedom in her independence and confidence, coming from a broken home some readers can empathize with that. It is empowering and beautiful. But don’t believe me, go read it for yourself because that is the miracle and beauty of the prose. What it means to me can be entirely different for another reader. Neither of us is wrong nor right, we can just sit back and sit in awe and Jane Yollen’s gorgeously crafted words.


I received a copy from in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Born and raised in New York City, the mother of three and the grandmother of six, Yolen lives in Massachusetts and St. Andrews, Scotland.

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