Saturday, February 23, 2013

[BOOK REVIEW] The Firebird by Demi

Title:  The Firebird

Author:  Demi

Genre: Fantasy / Folktale / Romance / Animal / Magic

Year Published: 1994

Year Read:  2011

Publisher:  Owlet Paperbacks

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 6+  (Threats of Death)

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I have actually first heard of this tale from Rabbit Ears’ version of "The Firebird," which was narrated by Susan Sarandon, but now I have finally stumbled upon Demi’s version of the classic Russian folktale, “The Firebird.”  “The Firebird” is about a young archer named Dimitri who finds a firebird feather and goes on an adventure of a lifetime in fulfilling the Tsar’s greedy needs!  “The Firebird” is a truly wonderful classic folktale that children everywhere will love for many years!!

I am a huge fan of various folktales around the world and reading this version of the classic Russian folktale is definitely no exception!  Demi has done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing this fantastic folktale about the importance of not throwing caution to the wind.  What I really loved about Demi’s writing is how she based this version on Arthur Ransome’s popular book “Old Peter’s Russian Tales,” which is extremely interesting to know since I have heard about “Old Peter’s Russian Tales” so much from other reviewers.  I also loved the way that Demi made the book extremely dramatic and exciting at the same time as I was literally drawn into how Dimitri would be able to get out of the troubling situation he has thrown himself into and I also loved how Demi made the Tsar’s greed for power into something that can make a person corruptive, which is true.  It was also interesting seeing how Dimitri and Princess Vassilissa met each other through a sea of flames, which is an interesting way to meet your true love since it is not everyday that you get to meet the person you love at the edge of the world! Demi’s illustrations are extremely beautiful and creative as Demi uses traditional Chinese paints, inks and brushes and watercolor paints and paper to create the illustrations for this book.  My favorite illustration in this book was of Dimitri jumping into the cauldron of boiling water and I loved how the fire was drawn as the fire seems like it is literally licking at Dimitri and has golden, orange and yellow colors that truly show how effective this scene really is.

Parents should know that there are some threatening situations in this book which includes Dimitri being threatened with death numerous times throughout the book and that might scare smaller children.  Parents might want to talk to their children about being bullied into doing something they do not want to do before they read them this book.

All in all, “The Firebird” is a truly brilliant classic that children who love reading Russian folktales will definitely get a kick out for many years!  I would recommend this book to children ages six and up due to the length of this book and because the threatening situations might scare smaller children.

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