Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco tells the story of an elderly woman, a babushka, who spends her winter painstakingly painting Easter eggs to display at the Easter festival in Moscow. After rescuing a goose whom she names Rechenka, all her fragile eggs are shattered when the goose haphazardly flies about the little house. Babushka continues to care for her adopted pet unaware of the surprise which awaits her the following morning.
Patricia Polacco is one of my favorites for her knack at revealing stories of family, kindness and tradition. Her illustrations beautifully coordinate both ink sketches and ornately painted cultural and familial patterns.
This is a rich and gorgeous story of kindness, love and searching for the daily wonder in our lives. Babuskha does this so fluidly and naturally. Children also seem to do this intuitively, don’t they? Here are a few helpful hints for making the most out of this delightful Easter and springtime read.
TALK ABOUT THE ANIMALS – caribou/calves; goose, geese, gosling
TALK ABOUT NEW WORDS (vocabulary)
- beamed – smiled warmly
- processions – long lines or groups of people like in a parade
- quivered – trembled or shook like from cold, fear or excitement
- miracle – something extraordinary; brought about by God
TALK ABOUT RUSSIAN CULTURE
- St. Basil’s cathedral – the main cathedral in Moscow on Red Square, characterized by the “onion” domes.
- Pysanky – an ornate and artistic style of decorating Easter eggs in the Ukraine and Russia using hot wax and a stylus.
- Icons, triptych – Byzantine religious works of art representing biblical figures, characterized by large eyes, long, slender noses and small mouths. Triptychs are icons presented in a series of three panels.
TALK ABOUT RUSSIAN WORDS
Da – Yes Nyet – No Dacha- a small house in the countryside babushka- grandmother
kulich – a sweet bread pashka – a cheese spread with raisins Moskva– Moscow
- Color your own Easter eggs, of course!
- Fly around the house or yard, or even the park honking like a goose.
- Read the story 20 times together and cuddle up with your favorite family quilt!