Cover of The Flying Witch by Jane Yolen

Flying Witch, The

I have always loved Baba Yaga, the Russian witch with the iron nose who flies around the forest in a mortar and pestle. When my HarperCollins editor asked me to tell a Baba Yaga story for young chldren, I realized there were no actual stories appropriate. I mean–she has a house on chicken feet surrounded by a fence of skulls, for goodness sake. She EATS little children (except for the occasional feisty child.) It was that “occasional feisty child” and my husband’s oft used phrase “Did you think I just fell off the turnip truck?” that got me thinking. And THE FLYING WITCH was the result. Vladimir Vagin’s pictures are so wonderful, I could eat them up. Er…am I sounding like an old witch????

What reviewers have said:

  • “The clever little girl…is timeless, and it’s a pleasure to see her clever capabilities at the heart of the story.” — Chicago Tribune
  • “Yolen’s vivid writing reflects the flavor of the original tales and comes alive with repetition of key phrases….The author wisely injects humor to lighten her version of the witch….a deliciously amusing romp” — School Library Journal
  • “A clever twist to the old Russian folktale about the scary old witch!” — Kidsbookshelf
  • “Meticulously drafted paintings depict old Russia’s onion domes, birch forests and steely gray skies. Traditional motifs and stylized forms infuse the illustrations with a strong folk flavor, as they also incorporate antique tools and peasant costumes. Baba Yaga’s black fingernails and scythe-shaped iron nose mark her as a villainess. Yolen’s cheerful outcome emphasizes the girl’s sound judgment and friendly reconciliation with the witch, while Vagin’s illustrations provide an undercurrent of ever-present danger.” — PW