*Thank you to Catherine Flores for sending me an e-ARC of this book to read and review*
The Story of Babushka follows a Russian Nesting Doll (a Babushka) who goes in search of the meaning of life. Her five bodies each represent different elements of her character (beauty, wealth, talent, intelligence and love) and they all go off independently throughout the story to find purpose and meaning, based on their own individual traits. This book is intended for children aged 8-14, but definitely has potential crossover interest for an older audience looking for something sweet and easy.
This was an absolute pleasure to read. It’s obviously intended for an audience slightly younger than me (I’m 21…) but I found myself just as engrossed in this story as I would have been ten years ago. Babushka’s struggles resonated with me as an adult, and I found the message to be one that would be equally understandable and enjoyable for children who are starting to ask themselves what they want to do when they grow up, as well as one that makes you really think about your own interests and ambitions, whatever your age. Babushka’s five bodies are instantly likeable and only have good intentions, so I feel that she could be a good role-model character and I’m sure that all children could instantly connect with at least one of her major traits.
The subject matter is just as fascinating as the characters. A lot is included in this story, with struggles including political and social issues, and relationship problems, all addressed in a way that may enlighten children without completely overwhelming them. A couple of the struggles that the characters face aren’t ones that are frequently addressed in younger reads, but it is written in such an accessible and understandable way that I genuinely think children would understand and learn a lot. It has a beautiful moral and such an important plot that I would certainly recommend this as an enjoyable read for adults and parents, and an educational one for slightly younger readers.
Reading this book was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I cannot recommend it highly enough, for its gorgeous illustrations, its poignant message and its genuine portrayal of emotional struggles that so many people go through at some point in their lives. It’s a quick and easy book that I finished almost a week ago now and still haven’t been able to get out of my head.
PS: As an added bonus, the author linked me to a website for the book (https://thestoryofbabushka.com/) which is absolutely stunning! The interactivity with the animated elements is adorable, and I’m sure that young readers who are interested in the book would love this too!