In Baba Yaga’s Assistant, a middle grade graphic novel by Marika McCoola, everyone tells horrible stories about the evil and terrifying witch, Baba Yaga. Parents threaten their children with visits from Baba Yaga to get their children to behave. Masha knows there is more to Baba Yaga than what the tales tell about her though. When Masha’s grandmother was a child, she met Baba Yaga. Masha thinks life with a witch sounds adventurous and exciting.
One day, after her grandmother has passed away and her father is about to marry a new woman with a bratty daughter, Masha sees an ad in the paper that Baba Yaga is looking for an assistant! She doesn’t feel a part of this new family anyway, so she escapes into the forest to apply. Baba Yaga assigns her a list of seemingly impossible tests to accomplish in order to gain the job. With knowledge gleaned from various folk and fairy tales involving Baba Yaga, paired with a bit of her own magic, Masha sets out to conquer the tests.
Illustrated by Emily Carroll, Baba Yaga’s Assistant is filled with stunning art in a cartoonish style using vibrant colors. The art is expertly used in a way that easily differentiates between the main plot, flashbacks to Masha’s childhood, and side stories of the folk and fairy tales that Masha uses to help her along. The book is divided into subsections that act as chapters, mostly coinciding with the start of a new test. This creates an easy pause moment for younger readers while also keeping the story moving forward. Readers will be constantly drawn to read one more section to see if Masha will pass or fail the next test! This story has just the right amount of spookiness to satisfy young readers without ever becoming too scary.
Best suited for grades 4-7, Baba Yaga’s Assistant will make an especially great fall read and will be loved by fans of Doll Bones and The Graveyard Book. Teens and adults looking for a spooky graphic novel can check out illustrator Carroll’s Through the Woods.
You can place a hold on Baba Yaga’s Assistant in our catalog right now. If you have to wait, be sure to check out “You Might Also Like These…” at the bottom of the book’s catalog page.