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The House With Chicken Legs is the extraordinary debut novel from Sophie Anderson. Steeped in traditional Russian folklore with the author’s own unique twist, the story focuses on the traditional tale of Baba Yaga.
In many tales, Baba Yaga is a crooked, evil witch with a long nose who rides around on a pestle and mortar and eats children.
Here, Baba Yaga (more affectionately known as just Baba) is actually the sweet grandma to main character, Marinka. She is also the guider of the dead through the gate to the next world, which happens to reside in their house – a house with chicken legs that regularly uproots the pair to different places around the world.
Much to her chagrin, Marinka is destined to be the next guardian of the gate. When Baba disappears, Marinka has to figure out on her own whether she is truly suited for such a destiny.
With the help of her house – which has a mind of its own – and friends she meets along the way, Marinka has to quickly mature and be brave as she seeks to truly understand her own fate and find her beloved Baba.
2018 offered up many excellent books and this one is no exception. It makes a tremendous addition to primary classrooms and there are endless possibilities in terms of things you can do to link learning to the book, including finding out about other cultures and researching fascinating Russian folklore.
As well as a range of activities in the main book topic, this resource also includes a newspaper template PDF for use in one of the exercises.
Ashley Booth is a Y6 teacher in Toxteth, Liverpool. Find him at theteachingbooth.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter at @mrboothy6.
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