Baba Yaga's Assistant - Marika McCoola, Emily Carroll

A magical story about a girl finding her place in the world!

I was thinking it would be only about Baba Yaga and her new assistant, as that is what the title and the blurb implies. Let me tell you this, it is indeed about that, but also about so much more. It is about families, about mourning, about death, about finding a place you belong, yes, the book made me sad, it made me happy, it made me feel a whole lot. The pieces with Baba Yaga were terrific and I loved to find out more about Baba Yaga (and see another side to her, since everyone is saying she is oh so evil), to read the stories about Baba Yaga (and how lots of girls seem to have escaped her, which teaches a wise lesson to those who wish to be an assistant of the witch).

The parts about Masha, about her family, about her life, about what happened to her life that made her run away to Baba Yaga were sad, heartbreaking, but also really beautiful and it gave Masha something special and gave her more dimension. It made me like this girl. I felt sorry for her, sorry that her life was like this. Sure, it wasn't all that bad, she still had family, but after a while that fell away. I can say that I truly disliked the dad. Dear Lord, bad parenting much? Never did he seem to care about his daughter, and when he found someone new he totally dumped her. Wth is up with that? She is your daughter, she should be your first priority, not your second or even third or even last. You shouldn't avoid her or not even care to stand up for her. *shakes fist at the dad*

I loved Masha's wit and the things she said, she is a really clever girl who isn't afraid to say what is on her mind.

Dani/Danielle dear Lord, what a terrible little fucking brat that was. Sorry, but as soon as she was introduced I just knew this one would be trouble and would cause a whole lot of hurt. Bleh bleh bleh.

The story was really fun, and I loved how we switched between the now and the then. There were little hints scattered here and there about Masha's family when Masha and the Baba Yaga talked. I really liked those, just like I liked all the other little things that you could see in the house.
The tests were really fun, and I loved to see what Masha would do, what she would cook up to finish those tests.

The illustrations are gorgeous, I loved how the characters were drawn. Baba Yaga was seriously spooky and at times creeped me out, but I could also see other sides to her that were cleverly drawn. A wink of an eye here, a smile there. It was great. The backgrounds were gorgeous. Emily Caroll really has a way to make you get sucked into the book and not let go until the book is over.

All in all, great story, wonderful illustrations, and I would highly, highly recommend this book to everyone!

Review first posted at