Cover image for The house with chicken legs
Title:
The house with chicken legs
Title:
The house with chicken legs
Personal Author:
Edition:
First U.S. edition.
Publisher Info:
New York : Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc., [2018]
Physical Description:
262 pages ; 22 cm
Abstract:
"All 12-year-old Marinka wants is a friend. A real friend. Not like her house with chicken legs. Sure, the house can play games like tag and hide-and-seek, but Marinka longs for a human companion. Someone she can talk to and share secrets with. But that's tough when your grandmother is a Yaga, a guardian who guides the dead into the afterlife. It's even harder when you live in a house that wanders all over the world . . . carrying you with it. Even worse, Marinka is being trained to be a Yaga."-- Publisher's description.

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Summary

Summary

All 12-year-old Marinka wants is a friend. A real friend. Not like her house with chicken legs. Sure, the house can play games like tag and hide-and-seek, but Marinka longs for a human companion. Someone she can talk to and share secrets with.

But that's tough when your grandmother is a Yaga, a guardian who guides the dead into the afterlife. It's even harder when you live in a house that wanders all over the world . . . carrying you with it. Even worse, Marinka is being trained to be a Yaga. That means no school, no parties -- and no playmates that stick around for more than a day.

So when Marinka stumbles across the chance to make a real friend, she breaks all the rules . . . with devastating consequences. Her beloved grandmother mysteriously disappears, and it's up to Marinka to find her -- even if it means making a dangerous journey to the afterlife.

With a mix of whimsy, humor, and adventure, this debut novel will wrap itself around your heart and never let go.


Author Notes

Sophie Anderson grew up in Swansea, studied at Liverpool University, and has worked as a geologist and science teacher. She currently lives in England's Lake District with her husband and enjoys the freedom of homeschooling her three children, walking, canoeing, and daydreaming. She loves to write stories inspired by different folklores, cultures, and landscapes. The House with Chicken Legs is her first novel.


Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-The wise witch of Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga, is the conduit for this coming-of-age adventure where both the living and the dead teach timely lessons about love and loss. Twelve-year-old narrator Marinka has reluctantly accepted her destiny: to learn the duties of a guardian (aka "yaga") who guides the dead through the Gate to a peaceful afterlife. Although she loves learning from her grandmother, Baba, and living in the strange house with chicken legs, she is tired of constantly picking up and moving, never making a friend among the living. When she stubbornly enacts her own plan for her future, Marinka is faced with choices that have permanent consequences. Anderson has written a plucky, compassionate heroiner in Marinka. She is completely relatable as she struggles with the desire for independence while knowing she has much to learn from her elders, peers, pets, and, surprisingly, her dwelling. The story brings Neil Gaiman's Coraline and the work of Tim Burton to mind: the first scene opens with Marinka building a fence of human femur bones with delicately balanced skulls atop. VERDICT A thoughtfully crafted, macabre masterpiece for middle grade readers, this debut novel also has the read-aloud appeal of a beloved folk or fairy tale.-Jane Miller, Nashville Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

My house has chicken legs. Two or three times a year, without warning, it stands up in the middle of the night and walks away from where we've been living. It might walk a hundred miles or it might walk a thousand, but where it lands is always the same. A lonely, bleak place at the edge of civilization. The house nestles in the dark forbidden woods behind villages, rattles on the windswept icy tundra, and hides in the crumbling industrial ruins at the far edge of cities. At the moment it's perched on a rocky plateau high in some barren mountains. We've been here two weeks and I still haven't seen anyone living. Dead people, I've seen plenty of those of course. They come to visit Baba and she guides them through The Gate. But the real live living people, they all stay in the town and villages far below us. Maybe if it was summer a few of them would wander up here, to picnic and look at the view. They might smile and sell hello. Someone my age could visit, maybe a whole group of children on their holidays. They might stop near the stream and splash in the water to cool off. Perhaps they would invite me to join them. Excerpted from The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.