Rechenka’s Eggs

19 Apr

Decorating eggs is a very old tradition dating back thousands of years, even before the time of Christ. Early Christians adopted the custom of decorating eggs at Eastertime to represent the resurrection and the new life within the egg. The tradition of decorating and giving eggs to others at Easter continues today.

Today, I would like to share with you one of my favorite story picture books, Rechenka’s Eggs written by one of my all time favorite storytellers, Patricia Polacco.

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Rechenka’s Eggs is the story of an old woman, Babushka, who paints the best Easter Eggs in her village. Every year, Babushka takes her eggs to Moscow for the Easter Festival and every year she wins first prize. One day, Babushka sees a goose shot from the sky by a hunter. She rushes to save the goose. She brings it home and names it Rechenka. Rechenka sleeps in a basket filled with Babushka’s warmest quilt until she is well again. To repay Babushka’s kindness, Rechenka lays an egg for breakfast every morning. But one day, Rechenka flies up on Babushka’s worktable and knocks down the basket of painted eggs breaking them into a million pieces. The next morning, when Babushka goes to the basket to collect her egg for breakfast, she finds the ‘most brilliantly colored egg she had ever seen’. When it comes time to go to Moscow, Babushka leaves Rechenka to return to the wild and takes Rechenka’s eggs to the Easter Festival where everyone is amazed at the wonderful eggs she has brought. Babushka wins first prize and a feather quilt to take home. She goes to bed alone that night under her new quilt, and in the morning Babushka finds that Rechenka had left her one last gift, a glorious egg in her basket, one that is different from all the others. From the egg a gosling hatches. And this baby goose remained with Babushka always.

In the Ukraine, where Patricia Polacco’s grandparents lived, the decorated egg is called a pysanky. She learned this method of decorating eggs using a special waxing tool and dye from her grandmother. This is the method used in her book Rechenka’s Eggs which is featured in the Reading Rainbow episode I have attached at the end of this post. In this episode, Patricia Polacco demonstrates how to decorate eggs the way her grandmother taught her. And she shares her grandmother’s words, “As long as a pysanky is being painted somewhere in the world, the world will never end.”

You can see the whole episode here. http://vimeo.com/6347301

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4 Responses to “Rechenka’s Eggs”

  1. Patricia Tilton April 19, 2014 at 11:45 AM #

    The perfect holiday book. This is one of my favorite Polacco books — but then I love most of them.

    Like

    • Juliana Lee April 19, 2014 at 1:58 PM #

      You and me both, Pat! She is a prolific storyteller!

      Like

      • Patricia Tilton April 19, 2014 at 5:19 PM #

        You know I tweeted your review through your blog and for for some reason it didn’t highlight your name in blue. Just wanted you to look at your notifications at the top. Hapy Easter!

        Like

        • Juliana Lee April 19, 2014 at 5:45 PM #

          So glad you did Pat. Happy Easter to you and your family too!

          Like

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