Russian and Ukrainian versions of this fairytale already exist. (They are known under titles like "The Golden Fish" and "The Fisherman and the Fish.") What makes Polacco's retelling of the tale unique (besides the fact that she has changed the fish to a bird) is that she has added a child protagonist in the character of Luba. I think this makes the story more relatable for young readers. The name Luba means "love," and the sweet Luba in Polacco's story lives up to her name.
Even though Polacco has changed many of the details of the original story, her book is still full of eastern Slavic imagery and situations, from the style of the peasant cottages and traditional clothing, to the existence of a czar and onion-domed churches. Polacco's illustrations are colorful & exciting, and they really bring the story to life.
Like many fairytales, this one might be a little scary for very young or sensitive readers, but it will probably be fine for most kids. It does have a happily-ever-after ending and a nice moral about not being greedy.
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