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Table of Contents
About The Book
A story of friendship and faith.
Varenka lives contently in her cottage in the woods, until passersby warn her that war has broken out. Pack up a bundle and come along with us. But Varenka can’t leave.
Who will care for the children who wander and get lost in the forest? Who will shelter the animals and feed the birds when winter comes?
Soon, Varenka shelters a young artist, an old farmer and his goat, and a lost child. And each night she prays for a wall to be built around her house to protect her from the soldiers who draw nearer with each passing day. Things seem dire until Varenka notices a gentle sound all around the house. Snow. Could it be enough to save them?
This is a Bernadette Watts classic with its timeless message of courage, compassion, and faith.
“A master in choosing a palette.”—Eric Carle
STARRED REVIEW "The resemblance to current-day displacement due to war is hauntingly similar... the Byzantine-like faces are beautifully crafted in soft pastel colors, while Watts’s writing follows traditional folktale cadence.
– School Library Journal
- Publisher: NorthSouth Books (October 25, 2022)
- Length: 32 pages
- ISBN13: 9780735845077
- Grades: P - 2
- Ages: 4 - 8
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Raves and Reviews
STARRED REVIEW "The resemblance to current-day displacement due to war is hauntingly similar... the Byzantine-like faces are beautifully crafted in soft pastel colors, while Watts’s writing follows traditional folktale cadence."
– School Library Journal
"Varenka’s altruistic nature as well as her unbreakable conviction make this a tale of genuine goodness."
– Manhattan Book Review
"This is a touching story of the powers of faith, courage, and friendship."
– Midwest Book Review
This is a moving, beautiful book that will be sure to offer readers opportunities to discuss difficult but pertinent themes.
"a well-presented tribute to both Russian art and storytelling. The illustrations are vivid and create an atmosphere that supports the emotions of the text."
– Kiss the Book Blog
Bernadette discusses how her story, once thought to be based on a Russian legend, actually came to publication originally in 1971:
“Varenka was written shortly after Hans Millerman. It was a long time ago, but I recall it was a time in my life I loved to write, lots of stories, notebooks, diaries, accounts of journeys and holidays. I also loved reading, especially travel books, and I read a lot about Russia and Siberia. I think Varenka came from my reading about the 1917 Russian Revolution, and also my idea how Russian landscape might look. Varenka and Hans Millerman are the two books which people still write to me about.”
– Interview with Bernadette Watts, NorthSouth Books
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