Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 8 Up –Porter takes the story of Vasilisa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga, sets it in New York, and turns it on its chicken legs.

redstarPORTER, Sarah. Vassa in the Night. 9 CDs. 10:45 hrs. Recorded Bks. Jan. 2017. $97.75. ISBN 9781501947933. digital download.

Gr 8 Up –Porter takes the story of Vasilisa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga, sets it in New York, and turns it on its chicken legs. Vassa is all attitude, and that serves her well in her dysfunctional family. A spat with her half sister initiates Vassa’s visit to the local Be Wise convenience store managed by Babs Yaga. While there, Vassa is accused of shoplifting. The punishment for shoplifters is beheading, and a circle of poles surrounding the store displays the heads of those who have been “caught” in the past; Vassa has to do some fast talking to escape a grisly demise. Thus begins Vassa’s task of surviving three nights of tasks in Babs’s employ. Fortunately, Vassa is aided by her magic, if mischievous, doll named Erg. The already inventive story is masterfully narrated by Madeleine Maby. Maby’s interpretation of each of the characters is inspired, and listeners will be hooked from the first chapter. VERDICT A not-to-be-missed auditory treat.–Jodeana Kruse, R.A. Long High School, Longview, WA

This review was published in the School Library Journal December 2017 issue.

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