Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/01/2019 *Starred Review* When 12-year-old Yanka, nicknamed “the Bear” for her size and strength, wakes up with actual bear legs, her initial reaction is panic, but after learning about the generational curse in her family, she becomes determined to learn more about her ancestry. Yanka knows she was adopted—discovered in a bear’s cave as a baby—but other than a few shards of the story, her past is a mystery. She wants to know what secrets lie in the forbidden Snow Forest, aside from the cursed lime tree and the house with chicken legs that guides the dead. When the forest creatures beckon to her, Yanka—along with her sassy weasel sidekick, Mousetrap, and new friend Yuri the elk—embarks on a journey of self-discovery that soon turns into a layered quest to save everyone Yanka loves from a ferocious and unforgiving dragon. Along the way, Yanka is helped by a colorful cast of human and animal friends, and her adventures in the present are interwoven with folk stories from her childhood, which might contain more truth than tale. Readers who enjoyed Gregory Maguire’s Egg and Spoon (2014), Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, the Brothers Grimm, or Baba Yaga lore will revel in this new fairy tale that borrows from the old to make something new. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2020 Gr 4–6—Once upon a time on the very edge of the Snow Forest, a girl named Yanka yearned to know the truth about her past. Found as a baby in the cave of a great bear, she has lived most of her life in the home of her lovingly protective Mamochka and their inquisitive house weasel, Mousetrap, with the occasional visit from the storyteller Anatoly, who lives in the Snow Forest. When she falls during one of her village's festivals and awakens with the legs of a bear, Yanka knows that the time has come for her to head into the forest for answers. Accompanied by Mousetrap and a host of other friends she meets along the way, Yanka finds more than she bargained for, but she may have to lose just as much. This whimsical story is intricately woven with Russian folklore. The charming writing will instantly transport readers directly into the Snow Forest. Tackling themes of home, family, belonging, and the importance of storytelling, this is a great classroom or family read-aloud and book club choice. Pairing the text with Sophie Anderson's The House with Chicken Legs will add a layer of context and depth to the world and certain characters. VERDICT Hand this wonderfully crafted tale to fans of books like Kelly Barnhill's The Girl Who Drank the Moon, as well as lovers of myths and fairy tales.—India Winslow, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.