Baba Yaga's Assistant review by Christian Rea...
Baba Yaga's Assistant
by Emily Carroll, Marika McCoola
Age Range - 8 - 12
Genre - Manga/Graphic Novel
Five Star Award

LitPick Review

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Age at time of review - 22
Reviewer's Location - Yucaipa, CA, United States
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The monstrous Baba Yaga, a trickster witch of disastrous proportions, has been working alone for years, terrorizing the town she frequents.  She kidnaps children and then threatens to eat those who behave badly.  Now, however, she has a problem: she has too much work.  She needs an assistant.  In a spur-of-the-moment decision, she puts an ad in the local newspaper.  And, to her great surprise, a young girl named Masha stumbles upon her walking house.  This is the story of how they learn to work together, and how appearances aren’t always as they seem.


This book is absolutely wonderful!  The writing style is superb.  Each sentence helps to spur the story onward, and helps keep the plot moving at a good pace.  The art style is beautiful.  With thin black lines and light shading, the art brings this gritty feel to the book that helps to reinforce the idea that the situations that happen during the story are not to be sought after by the faint-of-heart.  The color palette used is lovely, as well; using autumnal coloring (reds, oranges, yellows, browns, tans, and creams) and colder colors to offset these (blues, greens, and purples), the color palette used in this graphic novel spans the entire rainbow, and uses each color and shade to its fullest potential.  The characterization is marvelous, as well.  Masha and Baba Yaga, our two main characters, are beautifully fleshed-out and three-dimensional.  Their actions make complete sense and are realistic in nature.  Even smaller characters – such as Baba Yaga’s house, the bear, Matryoshka, Danielle, Jenny, and Masha’s family members – are all very well-written and seem real, even if they are not quite as three-dimensional as the two main characters.  The verisimilitude of the story is on-point throughout the entire novel – nothing that happens seems out-of-the-ordinary for the world in which the happenings take place.


Overall, I loved this fun-filled, fast-paced graphic novel.  This book transcends age-restrictions, as nearly anyone of any age can enjoy this lovely story.  I look forward to reading more from Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll, and in the meantime, I will continue to re-read this lovely tale about a terrible witch and her brave assistant.

Content Rating:

Content rating - some mature content

Explain your content rating: 

There are certain elements in this story that could put younger readers in an upset mood. Things like a dysfunctional family, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, death of loved ones, life-and-death situations, superstitions, magic, and witchcraft are all clearly present in this tome. Parents/parental guardians, teachers, and/or librarians may wish to look this book over before giving it to a child/student, particularly if the child/student is sensitive to any of the previously-mentioned topics.

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