A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

Russian / Russia

Krasnyj dom. Ballada
(The red house. A ballad)

Kovalenkova, Nastja (text)
Michal‘skaja, Marija (illus.)
Sankt-Peterburg [et al.]: Reč, 2015. – [40] p.
(Series: Obraz reči)
ISBN 978-5-9268-1647-8

Dream – Friendship – Courage –
Surrealism – Labyrinth – Picture book

In her dream, Liza follows her cat over endless snowdrifts into the labyrinthian world of a red house, yet can never catch up to the animal. The treacherous Sinilla – feline by day, dragon by night - has entranced Liza’s cat and only a brave magic spell can save the girl and the animal. Nastja Kovalenkova’s ballad is “ancient” in the best sense: the text’s rhyming couplets and flowing rhythm fit beautifully with its parable on friendship and responsibility. Marija Michal’skaja’s (b. 1983) illustrations won an award at the third CJ Picture Book Festival in Seoul in 2010 as well as the fourth Tallinn Illustrations Triennal in 2013. The spaciousness of the pictures gives the story a surreal twist: While the text gathers pace, the pictures emanate calm. At the same time, they turn the world upside down by avoiding nearly all even planes, making buildings and landscapes criss-cross, pile on top of each other and stand upside down. (Age: 5+)