My May 2018 Book of the Month, The House with Chicken Legs, introduced Sophie Anderson as one of the most exciting new talents in children's books. The book has been shortlisted for almost every major prize, including The British Book Awards, Carnegie, Blue Peter and Branford Boase. Happily, there is no second book syndrome here, in a sparkling adventure that is even better than her debut.
Twelve-year-old Yanka has always felt out of place in her village. Abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, the forest calls out to her, and when she wakes to find her legs have become bear legs, she sets out on a journey of discovery. Chicken Legs was rooted in the contemporary world, but here Anderson strides boldly into the dark forest of fairytale, peppering her narrative with traditional Russian stories. It's an epic fantasy adventure of princesses, dragons and even a house with chicken legs, but this is a book about what it means to be human, about finding your place in the world, and how we define family. Yanka's band of misfit friends are a particular delight, with a special mention to Mousetrap the house weasel-the finest rodent sidekick since Narnia's Reepicheep.
Sophie Anderson’s richly imagined The Girl Who Speaks Bear is filled with crackling snow and fascinating Russian folklore. It stars tall, powerful Yanka, taken from a bear’s cave as a baby, and still yearning for the forest where she was found. When Yanka wakes up one day with bear’s legs, she sets out to discover who she really is, forging friendships, exchanging stories and figuring out her place in the world.
Anderson revisits the Far North land of myths and fairy tales first explored in The House With Chicken Legs in this extraordinary story of Yanka, a girl who was discovered abandoned as a baby in a bear cave and adopted by her Mamochka... Written with passion and compassion, Anderson’s talent as a weaver of magic and creator of evocative landscapes is growing with each book.