Russian Language and Culture Kit Annotated Bibliography

At the Wish of the Fish. folktale (1999). Adapted by J. P. Lewis, illustrated by K. Krenina. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers. ISBN 0-689-81336-8.
A classic Russian folktale. Emelya, a lazy village simpleton, catches an enchanted pike who promises to grant Emelya his every desire if he will let it go back into the sea, and so she does. The pike helps Emelya through everything from bringing the buckets of water home from the river to marrying the beautiful Tsarevna.

Baba Yaga and the Stolen Baby. folktale (2007). Adapted by A. Lurie, illustrated by J. Souhami. London: Frances Lincoln. ISBN 978-1-84507-753-2.
A retelling of the classic Russian folktale. Elena’s parents leave her in charge of her baby brother, but she runs off to play, leaving the baby alone in the yard, and he gets abducted by black geese, the servants of the evil Baba Yaga. Now Elena has to bring him back, and the forest animals’ magic gifts will help Elena outwit Baba Yaga.

The Bear and the Fox. Folktale (2007). Illustrated by I. Shcherbakova. New York: St. Petersburg Publishing House. ISBN 1-4276-1741-4.
A well-known Russian folktale about the kind-hearted but naïve Bear and the cunning Fox. When the Fox learns that the Bear has a tub of honey, she tricks him into letting her stay at his house for a few days. Every night she steals a bit of honey until there is none left. However, when the Bear finds out about it and blames the Fox for stealing his honey, she manages to turn the tables on him so that in the end it is the Bear who has to apologize to the Fox.

Breaking Stalin’s Nose. Yelchin, E. (2011). New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 978-0-8050-9216-5.
Ten-year-old Sasha Zaichik has known the laws of the Soviet Young Pioneers since the age of six and has always dreamt to become one. But the day before his class joins the Young Pioneers everything goes awry. His father gets arrested in the middle of the night, and everything that Sasha has believed in until now is crushed. In just one day Sasha will face the terrors and tragedies he has never imagined, and his life is going to change forever.

Doctor Ouch. Chukovsky, K. (2004). Translated and illustrated by J. Seabaugh. McKinney, TX: Viveca Smith Publishing. ISBN 0-9740551-0-7.
A popular children’s poem by the great Russian writer Kornei Chukovksy. Doctor Ouch (Doctor Aibolit in the original) tells the story of a kind and compassionate vet who travels from Russia to Africa to save the jungle animals.

The Fox and the Wolf. Folktale (2008). Illustrated by I. Shcherbakova. New York: St. Petersburg Publishing House. ISBN 978-1-4276-3275-3.
A well-known Russian folktale about the naïve Wolf and the cunning Fox. There is probably no one whom the Fox could not trick, but with the Wolf it is just too easy. Even after the Fox plays a prank which costs the Wolf a loss of his tail, poor Wolf remains as susceptible to the Fox’s tricks as ever.

Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers: Peter Tchaikovsky. Venezia, M., (1994). Chicago: Children’s Press. ISBN 0-516-04537-7.
A part of the project Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers, this book features the world famous Russian composer Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, telling the young readers about his life and music in a fun and engaging way.

Kolobok (The Bun). Folktale (2004). Illustrated by I. Yakimova. Moscow: Rosmen-Press. ISBN.
One of the most well-known Russian folktales. A little round bun, baked by an old babushka for her husband, suddenly comes to life and runs away. It appears, however, that there are too many of those who would like to savor the deliciously-looking bun. He cleverly escapes from all of them until he meets his match – a cunning fox.

The Little Humpbacked Horse. Folktale (1997). Adapted by E. Winthrop, illustrated by A. Koshkin. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN 0-395-65361-4.
A classic folktale about the peasant’s son Ivan and the magical humpbacked horse that helps Ivan to outsmart the greedy Tsar and take his place on the throne.

My First Book of Russian Words. Kudela, K. R., (2010). Mankato, MN: Capstone Press. ISBN 978-1-4296-3917-0.
A picture dictionary featuring realistic, modern photos (although the US settings, not Russian) and pronunciation of Russian words. Also includes some common Russian phrases.

My First Workbook of Russian Alphabet. N. Garcia ,(2010). Blurb
This is a fun and interactive Russian language beginner workbook for children ages 6 through 12.

The Nose. Gogol, N., (1993). Illustrated by G. Spirin. Boston, MA: David R. Godine. ISBN 0-87923-963-8.
A classic satirical, whimsical tale by Nikolai Gogol. A nose disappears one day from the face of a civil servant, but things yet more bizarre are to come. The poor civil servant looks everywhere for his nose and finally spots it … parading the streets of Saint-Petersburg dressed as an officer!

Phillipok. Tolstoy, L., (2000). Retold by A. K. Beneduce, illustrated by G. Spirin. New York: Philomel Books. ISBN 0-399-23482-9.
brother. But he is too young, so his mother says no, he must stay home with Grandma. Little Philipok is determined to go and slips out of the house to make his way to school through the snow. He is cold and frightened when he arrives, but soon he earns the privilege to stay.

Picture Dictionary. English-Russian. Turhan, S. Milet, (2003). Chicago, IL: Milet Publishing. ISBN 978-1840593587.
A picture dictionary featuring beautiful artwork. Vibrant pictures encourage readers’ creativity while they learn to identify objects and words. However, it does not include pronunciation of Russian words, so the readers need to know the Russian alphabet to use this dictionary.

The Pup Grew Up! Marshak, S., (1989). Translated by R. Pevear, illustrated by V. Radunsky. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-0952-3.
A well-known comical poem by Samuil Marshak (in the original its title is Bagazh – Luggage), which tells the story of a lady going on a train trip. She gets on the train with a tiny Pekingese and gets off … with a Great Dane.The way in which the train personnel explain to her what has happened is hilarious, although the English title of this poem is a bit of a spoiler.

The Rooster with a Golden Crown. Folktale (2010). Illustrated by I. Shcherbakova. New York: St. Petersburg Publishing House. ISBN 978-0-578-05415-5.
A well-known Russian folktale about the simple-minded Rooster, his friends and the cunning Fox. The Fox is trying to lure the Rooster out of his house so she could steal him, and he falls for her tricks every time. Luckily, his friends, the Cat and the Thrush, are always there to save him.

Russia (Eyewitness Series). Berton Murrell, K. & Crawford, A., (2000). New York: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 978-0-7894-5880-3.
A concise but quite comprehensive overview, complemented by superb color photographs of costumes, crafts, jewels, palaces, etc., offers a unique ‘eyewitness’ view of Russia, its culture and the lives of its inhabitants through the ages.

Russia ABCs: A Book about the People and Places of Russia. Berge, A. (2004). Minneapolis, MN: Picture Window Books. ISBN 1-4048-0360-2.
Glossary and several words and phrases in Russian.

Russia: The Culture. Nickles, G., Russia: (2008). New York: Crabtree Publishing. ISBN 0-7787-9672-8.
Newly revised edition of this book brings Russia’s rich and colorful culture to life. The book features beautiful photos and introduces such topics as religion, holidays and festivals, art, folklore, architecture, music, folk dance and ballet, circus, and literature.

Sasha and Babushka. Shpitalnik, V. & Evans C., (2006). Norwalk, CT: Soundprints. ISBN 1-59249-443-9.
The story is set in contemporary Russia. Sasha lives with her family in a city of Kursk, and her greatest wish is to see a puppet show. On Sasha’s sixth birthday her grandmother has a wonderful surprise planned. Together, Sasha and Babuskhawill ride the train to Moscow and go to a famous puppet theater.

Scarecrow. Zheleznikov, V., (1983). USSR: Detskaya Literatura. ISBN 0-397-32317-4.
13-year-old Lena, the granddaughter of Nikolai Nikolayevich, the town eccentric, is nicknamed Scarecrow by her classmates. She makes friends with only one boy, Dimka; however, as things turn out, he behaves more contemptibly than all the others. Because of his cowardice Lena is cruelly ostracized and mistreated by the class. However, despite insufferable treatment by her classmates, Lena maintains her integrity and nobility throughout and is vindicated in the end.

Silly Horse. Levin, V. (2005).  Illustrated by E. Antonenkov. Columbus, OH: Pumpkin House. ISBN 0-9646010-1-X.
A collection of comical poems by Vadim Levin. These poems were originally written in Russian but in such a way as to sound as though they had been translated from British English. They instantly grew very popular, and many even became song lyrics.

A Symphony of Whales. Schuch, S., (2002). Illustrated by P. Sylvada. Orlando, FL: Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-15-216548-2.
Young Glashka has a special gift – she can hear whales’ songs. One day this gift helps her save thousands of whales stranded in a freezing Siberian bay. Together with other people from her village and the crew of an icebreaker she rescues the whales from the deadly trap.

The Tale of the Firebird. folktale (2002). Adapted and illustrated by G. Spirin. New York: Philomel Books. ISBN 978-0-399-23584-9.
This is a version of the classic folktale about the mystical firebird. The Tsar sends his sons to search for the firebird who has been stealing golden apples from his garden. The youngest son, with the help of a gray wolf, finds the firebird in a distant land, but it becomes only the beginning of his journey during which he will have to capture the horse with the golden mane, rescue Yelena the Beautiful and fight evil Koshchei the Immortal to return victorious to his father.

Telephone. Chukovsky, K., (1996). Translated by J. Gambrell, illustrated by V. Radunsky. North-South. ISBN 978-1558584808.
Another classical comical poem by Kornei Chukovsky tells the story of a man who is inundated with calls from animals who are making all sorts of requests: from doves wanting gloves to baboons needing spoons. The man does his best to help everyone, but some callers are really stretching the limits of his willingness to help too far.

FedyaUncle Fedya, His Dog, and His Cat. Uspensky, E. (1974; English trans., 1993).. Illustrated by V. Shpitalnik. Knopf Books for Young Readers. ISBN 978-0-679-82064-2.
A well-known tale that has been popular in Russia for over 30 years and is also known to many in its cartoon version. A young boy, nicknamed Uncle Fedya for his adult-like seriousness and self-reliance, runs away from home when he finds a talking cat, Mr. Matroskin, but is not allowed to keep him. They set up a home in a remote village where they are joined by a talking dog Sharik. As they settle in, they make friends and enemies and embark on whimsical adventures. Children are sure to love this humorous and kind story that blends together reality and fiction.

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