Saturday, March 11, 2023

Book cover: "The Wolf in Olga's Kitchen"

Title: The Wolf in Olga's Kitchen
Original title (Russian): Rebyata i Zveryata, published in 1925 in the Soviet Union
Author: Olga Vasilievna Perovskaya (1902-1961)
Illustrator: Angie Culfogienis 
Translator: Fainna Glagoleva
Publication year of this edition: 1969, The Bobbs-Merrill Company
Dust jacket price: $5.50, the equivalent of $45 today — this was a pricey book!
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 229
Perovskaya's dedication: I dedicate these childhood recollections to the bright memory of my dear parents.
Dust jacket excerpt: "THE CHARACTERS: Four sisters — Olga, Sonya, Natasha, Yulia; their mother and father; a wolf, a donkey, a fawn, a tiger cub, a fox, and an assortment of others, both human and animal. THE PLACE: Though it could be almost anywhere, anywhere there is easy access to a wolf, that is, the place is a village in central Russia which lies between two large rivers and is surrounded by mountains, forests, green valleys, and orchards. ... These are Olga Perovskaya's reminiscences of her childhood. Told with great warmth and humor, they evoke all the joys of childhood. She and her sisters are real."
First paragraph: "There is a fertile, blossoming plateau between two large rivers in Central Asia. Its name is Kazakh is Djety-Su, which means Seven Rivers. There are mountains, forest, green valleys, and orchards in Seven Rivers. One city, especially, is famed for its great apple orchards. This is Alma-Ata, which means 'Father of Apples.'"
Where is Alma-Ata? It is the largest city in Kazakhstan, located in the southeastern part of the country, and is now known in the West as Almaty. In 1906, when the author was 4 years old, its estimated population was 27,000. Today, it is home to more than 2 million people.
Random passage from the middle #1: "Now that we had two donkeys we would spend our days journeying up and down the mountains and through the forest. When someone asked Father where we were, he would go out on the porch and train his field glasses on the mountains. There, high up on the ridge of a mountain or on a slope, were two little donkeys climbing like goats with bright flashes of cotton dresses in between."
Random passage from the middle #2: "By winter the foxes had grown gorgeous new fur coats. They were healthy and lively and played very interesting games. The first snow fell at the beginning of November. Then the cold weather set in. The stoves were burning brightly in the houses and smoke rose from the chimneys above the white trees."
Goodreads rating: 4.33 stars on a five-star scale (with 171 ratings)
Goodreads review #1: In 2011, Sanal wrote: "Read this book when I was a little child. I was never the same after it. This taught me the value of compassion, and why you should be nice to every living being. I think every kid should read this wonderful book."
Goodreads review #2: Here's an excerpt of what Mary Deepthy wrote in 2013 (lightly edited): "I got this book from my elder sis, at the age of 8 or 9. I don't remember how many times I have read & re-read this. Amazing stories. ... I used to imagine myself in her place, and take my lambs along with me to empty fields —to grass. So many years have passed. But I still have the book with me, in perfect shape. It came with me to my husband's home, and then to our own house in Bangalore. I will pass it on to my son Aamie." 
Note: This book has also been published in English under the title Kids and Cubs.
Smoky, one of our 14 indoor cats. We do not have any foxes, tigers or wolves.

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