A review by Joey Madia
Beautifully illustrated, with a strong sense of culture and family, Carola Schmidt’s wonderful children’s book gives us a glimpse into life for those in pre-independence Russia under the soviet communist party (the author chooses not to capitalize the scp, and I shall honor her choice).
A few things to know. Babushka is Ukrainian for “little Baba” and “Baba” means Grandmother. Like many Europeans (my family’s from Sicily and southern Italy), I have experienced the primary role of grandmothers in the family. Both of my grandmothers were very strong women who dealt with countless adversities—immigrating to America, helping their families with their businesses in New Jersey, suffering losses during World War II and Vietnam, raising children, taking care of their parents, and often managing the money and, of course, cooking enough delicious food for three times the amount of people present on holidays and for Sunday dinners.
Given this connection, I was immediately fond of Babushka, with her squat body and grey hair (again like my grandmothers) and her baby blue headscarf.
Babushka’s conversation partner is her granddaughter Karina, who, as the title tells us, asks her grandmother to tell her a story while they are making bread. When Babushka asks if Karina wants to hear a story about a princess, Karina agrees, asking her grandmother to also include some monsters. Continue reading