It’s been a while since I have done a review and if I’m completely honest; I didn’t expect to be doing one on a children’s book any time soon. And yet here we are. When Catherine first messaged me about her book I knew I wanted in because of my affinity with Russian Nesting Dolls. I have loved them since I was a child after my Nana gifted me her very own. As Catherine describes;
“The doll has come to symbolise Russian folk culture, as well as the complex and beautiful layers of women.”
Her story really does solidify this meaning and truly showcases the depth of women and I’m very happy to have had the chance to read it. This book may primarily be a children’s book but by no means is it only for children. The flowing words, beautiful imagery, and insightful meaning will strike true for any reader.
Babushka is the name of the complete doll and each of the five bodies have their own name, traits, and decorations. The story follows each of these bodies as they leave the nest (pun intended) and go on their solo adventures. However, they each come to realise that they need to work and live together to be truly happy and complete. I love this story wholeheartedly as in my mind, it creates a simple discourse surrounding the societal ideas of women that is easily comprehensible. For instance, in the case of Antonia (the most beautiful doll) she is only known for her beauty; Antonia needs the other bodies of the doll to be recognised as more. This simply isn’t the case for women. We want to be beautiful, wealthy, talented, wise, and give love.
Another thing I love about this story is the fact that each of the bodies go on their own journeys. I think it’s very telling about humans and their desire to be perfect at something; but the way this story presents itself reminds you that you don’t have to be just one thing. I can imagine this book being read to younger children in a way to encourage all of their passions and different aspects of their personalities. The Story of Babushka really is a celebration of the complexity of individuals.
I also have to mention here the illustrations that accompany this book. They are beautifully crafted to add to the fairytale setting and create a sense of whimsy that is just lovely. The only thing I would say that I doubted within this book was the similarity of the names for the talented and wise dolls. I think any parent who reads this aloud would have to really enunciate Paula and Viola; however the imagery does help distinguish the two and they have separate colours for readers to follow along. Overall, this book was a super quick but an absolute delight to read.