Egg & Spoon
by Gregory Maguire
Reader Appeal: Ages 10 and up
PopFam Rating: A
When I saw an ad for the middle-grade fantasy book, Egg & Spoon, I had to go out and get a copy simply because Gregory Maguire was the author.
Mr. Maguire wrote the book that inspired the hit Broadway musical, Wicked, and has been on my radar ever since. I’ve read many other Maguire books (including Wicked and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister) that I really enjoyed, so when I saw that he’d made a foray into children’s novels, I had to check it out (even though I’m way older than the reader he had in mind). The result?
I loved this book!
The characters here are endearing and creative. Baba Yaga (a witch from Russian folklore), is very funny and her house is very imaginative—it’s part house and part chicken. I’d love to see Egg & Spoon made into a movie just so I could better visualize the enchaining scenes that take place in her house. For example, Baba Yaga’s table has human legs (not in a disgusting way)—so the table can dance, it can swim like a human and thus turn into a raft, and more. So lots of funny, unexpected things happen once we enter Baba Yaga’s house—and the world of Egg & Spoon.
I liked Baba Yaga a lot, but my favorite impression from this book was that no character was perfect. A lot of times in children’s book, one character is often so angelic or wise as to be un-relatable. But in this book, the people seem like real people. Everyone has something to offer, and everyone has something to learn—even Baba Yaga.
Kudos to Gregory Maguire for pulling off that kind of realism in a wild, adventurous fantasy book.
The second half of the book focuses mostly on the journey of the adventurers, and at some points that might drag a bit for younger children (if you’re reading it aloud). But there is a payoff for those who stick with the story in the slower parts. Also, Christian parents might be concerned about the fact that Baba Yaga is a witch—but rest assured she’s not presented a realistic sorceress. She’s more like a fantasy fairy godmother or a Mary Poppins type of character. Still, parents should know that she does conjure up Cheerios and make magical things appear as part of the story.
Overall I found Egg and Spoon to be inventive, original, and very entertaining. I’ve already forced my sister to read it, and I think this would be a great book for parents to read aloud to children! Why not take the time to start Egg & Spoon with them today?
Tags: Gregory Maguire,Wicked,Baba Yaga,Russian Folklore
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