EGG & SPOON

Gregory Maguire

In this tour de force, master storyteller Gregory Maguire offers a dazzling novel for fantasy lovers of all ages.

Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar’s army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg —

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In this tour de force, master storyteller Gregory Maguire offers a dazzling novel for fantasy lovers of all ages.

Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar’s army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg — a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena’s age. When the two girls’ lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and — in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured — Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs.

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  • Candlewick Press
  • Paperback
  • August 2015
  • 496 Pages
  • 9780763680169

Buy the Book

$11.99

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  • Candlewick Press
  • Hardcover
  • September 2014
  • 496 Pages
  • 9780763672201

Buy the Book

$17.99

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About Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire is the author of the incredibly popular books including Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, which inspired the musical. He is also the author of several books for children, including What-the-Dickens, a New York Times bestseller. Gregory Maguire lives outside Boston.

Praise

“Egg and Spoon is a beautiful reminder that fairy tales are at their best when they illuminate the precarious balance between lighthearted childhood and the darkness and danger of adulthood.” School Library Journal (starred review)

Rich, descriptive language will reward readers who like to sink their teeth into a meaty story.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Alternating and ultimately interweaving story lines add complexity to the plot, which is driven by an enticing mix of mystery, danger and magic.” Shelf Awareness (starred review)

An epic.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Discussion Questions

As the story unfolds, the narrator reveals more and more about himself. Does your opinion of him change along the way? How trustworthy is he? How likable? Why does he risk so much for Elena?

What are the major differences that divide Elena and Cat at the beginning of Egg & Spoon? By the end, what are their common bonds?

The Firebird is described as the “bright soul of all the Russias” (page 4). What does that mean? How can a country have a soul? Does America have one?

Great-Aunt Sophia has gone to enormous trouble and expense so that Cat can be introduced to the Tsar’s godson. Why? What does the older woman want for her niece? What does Cat want for herself?

“Ambition without direction,” Peter Petrovich tells Elena (page 28), “is like milk without a cup.” What does he mean by this? Which characters in the novel prove his point? How?

Russian aristocrats in this novel seem more likely to speak French than Russian. What does this suggest about their attachment to their homeland? They also tend to doubt the existence of Baba Yaga and the Firebird. Why?

“I am life,” says Baba Yaga (page 144) soon after she meets Cat. What do you think she means by that? Do you agree with her? Why or why not?

Baba Yaga’s wicked wit sometimes flies right over the heads of her listeners. What are some of her jokes that you caught? What are some of her zany, comic anachronisms (puns, references, or quotes from our time, not Tsarist Russia’s)? Which are your favorites? Why?

“There is enough world for everyone,” says the dragon (page 386). “But everyone cries in want of more.” Do you agree? Why is it so difficult to know the difference between enough and more than enough?

What is the significance of the title? Does it refer to one particular egg in this novel full of remarkable eggs? What connection does an egg have with a spoon? “Does being in possession of a spoon give you more right to the egg?” the narrator asks (page 188). What do you think?