Why the Bear has no Tail and other Russian Folk Tales

Why the Bear has no Tail and other Russian Folk Tales

Towards the end of the 19th century, the English art journalist Netta Peacock travelled to Russia where she met Elena Polenova, the artist and younger sister of the famous artist Vasily Polenov. Polenova collected the traditional folk tales she heard from peasants in local villages, and also illustrated them. Peacock asked if she could translate the tales and publish them in England. Polenova gave her twelve watercolour paintings, as well as a cover design painted on an exercise book but the book was never published – probably as a result of the First World War. Nearly a hundred years later, the original illustrations and stories were rediscovered in the Oxfordshire home of Netta Peacock’s descendants. Now they have finally been published in a beautifully designed children’s book supported by Natalya Polenova, the great-granddaughter of Elena, who is custodian of the Polenovo State Museum Reserve in Russia. 

88pp, hardback with quarter binding, 240 x 185, 12 illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-906257-14-9
£12; $11.95
Distributed by Thames and Hudson (Europe)
and Antique Collectors Club (North America)

Sometimes we need the oldest tales to remind us how to relish stories. This is a beautifully illustrated collection of folk tales, retold and illustrated by Elena Polenova, a 19th-century painter whose works hang in the Tretyakov Gallery. Each has spirited wisdom and real enchantment, simplicity and great secrets. One gets lost in the images and in the words, enters a magical world of remembering and forgetfulness. A mellow, unhurried book, to read by a good fire (Bookanista)
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