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The House with Chicken Legs

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The House with Chicken Legs Reviews | Toppsta

Book Rating: 5 based on 30
30 Reviews
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Marinka dreams of a normal life, but her house has chicken legs and moves on without warning. For Marinka's grandmother is Baba Yaga, who guides spirits between this world and the next. Marinka longs to change her destiny and sets out to break free from her grandmother's footsteps, but her house has other ideas...

The House with Chicken Legs Reviews | Toppsta

9781474940665

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12th January '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
Marinka’s greatest desire is to lead a normal life. A life where she will wake up in the morning in the same place where she went to sleep, a place where she could settle and make friends. But sadly that’s not to be! She lives with her grandmother, Baba Yaga in a house with chicken legs, which without warning will get up and move on. Her grandmother’s is the guardian of the house and must help guide the dead through The Gate, which in turn will be Marinka’s destiny. How does it feel to be destined to a future role that you desperately don’t want and can you possibly change your path which seems so determinedly laid out before you. Follow Marinka as she travels across the globe, between this world and the next, as she struggles against the restraints that hold her bound to this inevitable fate.

It’s incredibly difficult to describe just how much I love ‘The House With Chicken Legs,’ it really is an emotional rollercoaster of a read that left me breathless. Sophie has created so many heart-stopping, desperately sad moments but then has sprinkled deftly seeds of hope and joy throughout allowing, the reader like Marinka to dream of an better future. The characterisation is superb, Marinka is strong and brave but flawed and fragile at the same time as she contends with the demands of the house and the expectations of her people. Her inexhaustible desire to make connections with people who are alive and real is so painful to watch but we know that she has to find her own way in the world and learn from her mistakes. The bond between Marinka and her grandmother is unbreakable despite being tested to the very limits and it just filled my heart with so much warmth and happiness. Even the house demonstrates it’s hold and desire over Marinka’s life, it doesn’t just stand up and walk away it rallies against her desire to be true to herself and Sophie captures this brilliantly with it’s outlandish behaviour. Stunningly told and superbly written this has to be one of the most accomplished debuts I have had the pleasure to read. A truly unforgettable story that will stay with me forever.
29th January '18
Year 6. read it themselves aged 10 to 11
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
Marinka just wants friends. Living friends her own age. She meets plenty of people, hears their stories and watches her grandmother guide them on their last journey...but they are all dead and she only meets them for one evening before they leave through The Gate to rejoin the stars. Living with her grandmother, Baba Yaga, this is everything Marinka has known, helping the dead move on, and she knows it is meant to be her destiny too, but she cannot accept it and craves for a life among the living.  This, however, is not possible.  Until one day she meets Benjamin, a boy, a living boy, who she strikes up a friendship with....only for the house to upsticks and move, tearing her from her one hope of warmth beyond the house.
Although this book deals with death and the dead it is not scary, although there are a couple of moments of great sadness it's tender in the task of helping the dead move on. But it's Marinka's story, her absolute wish for her destiny to be different, sometimes selfishly, which provides the adventure. She learns what it is to be yourself and learns that not all the living are as understanding as Benjamin.  She has a beautiful relationship with her grandmother and with the house (which yes, has feelings, thoughts, a sense of playfulness and loyalties) which is tested as she tries to change her destiny.  

We all loved the ending.
13th January '18
Syd1 read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
This is a wonderful story about Marinka, who longs for a normal life yet is destined to follow in her grandmothers footsteps. Her grandmother is known as a Yaga and a guardian of the gate between this world and the next. This was a lovely story which we very much enjoyed reading
5th July '18
Pokeman read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
When I saw the cover of the book, I didn't think it looked good but when I read the back i really wanted to find out more. This story is a fantasy/adventure book. My favourite character is Jack, he is a bird who often shoves food in people's ears!
I found the book easy to read and I wanted to read on all the time as I was so egrossed in the story.
1st November '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
I truly couldn’t put this book down! Marinka is a feisty 12 year old girl struggling to come to terms with her life inside a Yaga house (a house with chicken legs). She dreams of a normal life, where your house doesn’t get up and walk away and of having normal (living) friends. This fabulous folk tale of an adventure took me on a rollercoaster of emotions which I couldn’t put down until I’d finished. It’s a tale of accepting difference, not appreciating what you have until you lose it and coming to terms with the circle of life. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to upper KS2 and above. 
12th February '19
I read it to LucasChops aged 7 aged 7
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
Just an absolute joy of a book.  Based on old Russian folklore we follow the tale of Marinka who lives with her "Grandmother" Baba in a very special house.  This is a house with chicken legs and a special gateway that allows the dead to pass over to the stars.
Baba is one of many Yagas around the world who act as a guide to the dead and Marinka is destined to take over the house and the role at some point.  Trouble is that she yearns to be with the living and to have a "normal" life.  Only she died as a baby but the gateway spat her back out and she's lived with Baba ever since.
When Marinka meets Benjamin she gets a glimpse of the life she yearns for but when Baba passes through the gate it seems that her destiny is sealed.  Can she and the House With Chicken Legs come to some kind of compromise?
This is a fairytale like no other - a place where death is a celebration but dreams can come true (if you just modify them a little and let your friends help).  Just beautiful!
17th September '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
Marinka is a feisty 12 year old girl who is struggling with the constraints of her home. All she wants is a normal life with normal friends but her grandmother is a Baba Yaga, who helps the dead with their journey to the afterlife and on top of that they live in a house with chicken legs which moves when it wants to. 

I couldn’t put this book down as I was completely absorbed in Marinka’s emotional journey to rectify the mistakes she makes, while trying to make sense of her life and what her future holds. I am excited to share this amazing story with a Year 6 pupils at our school. 
23rd November '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
This books was fantastic! I love reading children's fiction and it's unusual to find a book which feels completely unique. However this book ticked that box for me! I was gripped by the storyline and gasped out loud at one or two of the twists. What a great read! 
7th May '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
It's FABULOUS. I'm always sceptical of a book with this much pre-publication hype because I've been burned before, but in this case Sophie Anderson hits the mark with precision and flair. The world-building is spot on - it's very hard to create a world-which-is-not-quite-this-world so well; it's not jarring at all. The House could very well exist, just out of the corner of your eye.

Marinka just wants to be a normal kid, not a Chosen One of any kind, and it's that desire that drives the story, but the House decides where they live, and her Baba (grandmother) decides how they spend their days. And Marinka isn't supposed to leave the house. Her journey to friendships is a bumpy one as she figures out who she is and what she needs. With adorable animal sidekicks - and the House itself (who I guarantee you will want to tickle the tummy of!), this lovely retelling has shades of Northern Lights and The Graveyard Book. It's quite simply one of my favourite books this year.
3rd November '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
This book is fantastically written and tells the story of a girl named Marinka who wants nothing more then to live a normal life like normal children but cannot - especially as she lives in a house that has chicken legs underneath it! and that moves whenever it likes to different locations all of the time. the story is based on the traditional tale of Baba Yaga (marinka's grandmother) and the story talks vividly of Baba Yaga guiding ghosts/spirits through "the gate" from this world to the next, and that is the detiny lined upfor Marinka, much to her annoyance as she doesn't enjoy the ritual and dispises not being able to make friendships that last. With a bird as her companion and a sheep soon to join in her adventure Marinka does all she can to find her own identity in a world where it has already been determined for her. There are lots of wonderful twists and turns along the way and you will not be disappointed with this book. It is one that will remain with me forever and i intend to share widely.
I would recommend this book for year 5 upwards as it does talk about ghosts/spirits and "other world" related features which younger readers may find frightening.
16th May '18
I read it to Class 3 aged 7 to 8
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
Sophie Anderson has created a vivid and captivating retelling of this traditional folk legend. Marinka's disillusionment with her life as the next Guardian and yearning for friendship certainly provided the children in my class with plenty of discussion. They adored the macabre aspects of the novel, the mysterious Baba Yaga and, above all, the sheer craziness of a house that sprints across hillsides on chicken legs! 
4th November '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
I adored this book. Marinka is a strong and defiant young girl, who wants to choose her own destiny, rather than follow the path of her grandmother, an old Baba Yaga.
She embarks on a journey of self discovery, making revelations about her family and life. 
For me, the strength of the story is the bond between the characters (even Jack, her loyal pet)! I felt the ties between all of the characters, even ones who make fleeting visits. 
The book made me reflect upon life and death. What’s important and valuable to us as humans is the ability to feel complexly and love each other. It can drive us to do incredible things.  
22nd January '19
I read it myself (an adult) , to Josh aged 10 aged 10 & to Sam aged 9 aged 9
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
This is a fabulous book that will appeal to both boys and girls, young and old. My son had started to read this book but was struggling to ‘get into it’, we decided to read it together and he is so pleased that we did. The main character, Marinka, has decided that she does not want her destiny to be decided for her and starts to push the boundaries in order that she chooses her own fate. This starts to lead to problems as she realises that her life is more complex than she had believed.
All the characters are interwoven in this tale and all play a very important part in telling their message in the story. Once we started reading it was really very difficult to put this book down. There are so many discussion points, not least ‘the cycle of life’. I think we will be talking about the House With Chicken Legs for a long time!
6th September '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
I have a new favourite book! I never thought mine would be knocked off the top spot but The House With Chicken Legs has done it. I loved this book from the beginning and was captured into the story just from reading the blurb. This is not a book I would usually go for; I like books which I can relate to in some way. However, I loved every part of the story. I would recommend this book to Year 5/6 pupils. It is quite an easy story to follow and the length of the book isn't too daunting.

Give it a read - you will not be disappointed!! 
2nd February '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
It’s like a snowflake floating on the breeze… a glistening gem of a story with an air of elegance, beauty and fragility. 

The House with Chicken Legs is steeped in Russian folklore in the form of a Baba Yaga mythical retelling. You may think ‘Oh, just another retelling…’ but let me assure you, that this reimagining take on this tale is absolutely something else.

How would you feel if your house got to choose where you live?
How would you feel if your house decided who you met and became friends with?
How would you feel if you had great responsibility bestowed upon you but you wanted – no, needed – to choose your own destiny?

Along the way, Marinka, the House and her trusted jackdaw, Jack meet: life – Benjamin, Benji, Salma, Lamya; death – Nina, Serina, The Old Man and his Wife; and Yaga – Baba Yaga, Old Yaga and plenty of other Yagas; to try to work out the answers to these life-changing questions.

And we haven’t even yet spoken of the House. Well what can I say? The House is larger than life with an even bigger heart; personified perfectly with oodles of charm and charisma but also tinged with a loveable rawness and roughness around the edges that’ll have you yearning and pining deeply for it. Marinka is the right kind of heroine for this story but the House is just as much as a hero for me.

The more you read on, the more Marinka will have you wanting to join her on her journey of self-discovery, fate, companionship, loyalty and affinity where houses walk (and run!); where the dead talk; and where life, death and Yaga come together in a superbly crafted story.

Sophie’s use of language is packed full of rich and vivid imagery which ensures that the words leap and dance off the page effortlessly in to the reader’s mind creating stunning worlds of magic and adventure. This is further complemented by her utterly beautiful style of writing and divine choice of vocabulary (e.g. ‘nebulous‘, ‘tendrils‘ and ‘balustrade‘ to name but a few!), which is perfect for logophiles like many teachers and I who want to introduce a broader range of vocabulary to children.

By the end, like I was, you’ll be trying your best to hold on and not say goodbye to these characters and this stunning story. But you’ll also learn some Russian; some chemistry (I loved the mentions of compounds combining to make fireworks and scientists like Rosalind Franklin); wonder why you haven’t experienced a Yaga party before and you’ll certainly want your own House with Chicken Legs after this… I know that I do.

One that needs to be in your hands as a teacher and in the hands of your class. Unmissable. I adored and devoured every single word.

A purely magical debut and an absolute must-read for 2018.
19th June '18
I read it myself (an adult) & to Miss Cleveland's Bookshelf aged 8 to 11
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
Marinka wants to be an ordinary girl, with an ordinary life – a life that allows her to do what other living children do. Most of all, she wants to stay in one place and have friends. Real, living, human friends, not just her jackdaw and her special house.
Being the granddaughter of Baba Yaga, however, means that she must spend her days preparing for nights spent guiding the dead through the Gate, and moving from place to place whenever their house with chicken legs decides.
With her Baba and her house both set on her becoming the next Yaga, how can Marinka ever break free of her destiny and live the normal life she longs for beyond their fence of bones?
A stunning reimagining of the Russian folk tale of Baba Yaga. Sophie has created a breathtaking adventure, that envelops the reader in a huge comforting hug. Marinka’s desire to have a life with the living, a life that goes against her destiny, is in turns courageous and selfish, yet utterly understandable – a wish that as the reader, I desperately hoped would come true for her.
But, it’s her love for, and determination to be reunited with her Baba that makes this such an enchanting and compelling read, which both breaks your heart and heals it. Courageous, hopeful and packed with love, The House With Chicken Legs shines like the stars on the blackest of nights.
The hauntingly beautifully internal illustrations by Elisa Paganelli (@elisaupsidedown) add an extra layer of depth to this very special book that has it’s own place on the bookshelf in my heart.

Great for fans of The Boy, The Bird And The Coffin Maker, A Girl Called Owl and The Girl Of Ink And Stars.
27th September '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
I absolutely loved this book and the very interesting plot. I really enjoyed reading a book based on fairytales from Russia and the magic, cliffhangers and thought-provoking moments made for a story that I just could not put down. I liked that the story was set in lots of different locations, depending on where the House travelled to next and the whole idea of being guided in to the next life was a very interesting idea. I cannot wait to share this book with my class and I know that this story will spark lots of interesting discussions between the children. A highly recommended read! 
6th September '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
An unbelievable story with fantasy twists and turns throughout, The House with Chicken Legs is a book which I couldn't put down.
Sophie Anderson is an exquisite story writer, and this book shows her talents.
The characters are 100% relatable, and you will fall in love with the somewhat lesser known characters just as much as you do with the main characters.
With love and loss as a theme running throughout, this book is best suited to those over the age of 10.
24th August '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
Imagine your house sprouting legs and running through the night to another place. This is what life is like for Marinka, whose greatest desire is to lead a normal life; something she can't do since her grandmother is Baba Yaga, a guardian who guides spirits from our world and into the next. Marinka knows that it is her destiny to guide spirits, but she just wants to be friends with the living and settle in one place long enough to build a friendship. As Marinka moves from one place to the next, she builds relationships with others, some good and some bad and learns how her destiny has been built by her past and will be built in her future. As one soul is guided through the gate unexpectedly learns how life can be counted and must be measured. The house takes care of Marinka at her darkest time, allowing their relationship to develop and a balance of living as a Yaga and the living to be developed. 

The illustrations throughout the book encourage you to full even further in love with the story. 
2nd December '18
I read it myself aged 11 aged 11
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
This book had an interesting plot, a completely new take on the ‘Baba Yaga’ Russian folk tale. I thought it worked really well - you felt as if you were in the story yourself, living every moment. 

The characters were fun, colourful and incredibly life-like. They all added to the story, instead of being some extras that just made the story longer. In fact, they really helped the whole thing along.

I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy which, though it is made up, still seems real.
19th August '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
5 stars
The title and cover originally sold this book for me - I mean who doesn’t want to read about a magical retelling of the Slavic folk tale Baba Yaga and a house with chicken legs?! But from the first page I was gripped. The House with Chicken Legs is literally brimming with magic and wonder, life and death, beauty and heart. The story follows twelve-year-old Marinka who longs to change her destiny and break free from her grandmother’s footsteps to become the next Guardian of guiding the dead through the Gate. She dreams of having a normal life and making friends, but how can she have this life when her house controls where they go and how long they stay. Determined to fight against her destiny, Marinka is a headstrong and heartfelt heroine, with an extraordinary past. Although a little selfish and oblivious to the consequences of her dreams, you can’t help but feel for and grow with Marinka throughout her story of self-discovery.
The story touches on a lot of important themes including the concept of destiny and the importance in shaping our own futures and dreams. But it also touches on the concept of death, grief and letting go which is rarely explored in middle grade literature. Whilst a difficult subject, Anderson handles the cycle of life and death masterfully and solidifies the importance of this through cherishing life and celebrating the lives of those passed on. Anderson’s writing is beautiful, lyrical and full of depth. Her words effortlessly dance off the page making for a quick and easy read to get lost in. And not to mention her choice of curious and wonderful Russian proverbs - they had me transported to new worlds from the very comfort of my home.
As for the interior illustrations by Elisa Paganelli, they brought even more life and meaning to the story, capturing the magic of Anderson’s world perfectly.
I can’t wait to read whatever Sophie Anderson writes next - because if this purely magical debut is anything to go by then we’re in for an absolute treat with her next book!
29th March '18
Belllboo read it themselves aged 11 aged 11
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
4 stars
The House with Chicken Legs is a beautiful story. It is about a girl called Marinka who lived with her grandmother who's job it is to guide the dead through the gate so they can travel on to the next world. Marinka is going to be a Baba Yaga too but she wants so much more.

I found it hard to read this book as it is really sad in parts but it has a lovely ending. 
20th June '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
4 stars
I cant add a lot to the other reviewer's on this page for there are a lot but I read this book because I was curious and wanted to check it out before giving it to my children. The subject matter is partly about death and where dead souls go though the book is very magical I wasnt sure at first.

The age range for this book is 10 plus and I think thats about right. Any younger children might find it a bit scarey. I was fascinated and drawn in by the way the author told the story of Marinka a little girl who was unhappy with her lot and loved the way her character processed things as the story progressed. I loved the personality of both the house and the crow/raven and found the whole book to be magical despite its gloomy subject.

I hope to read more from this author as she writes.
20th June '18
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
4 stars
I cant add a lot to the other reviewer's on this page for there are a lot but I read this book because I was curious and wanted to check it out before giving it to my children. The subject matter is partly about death and where dead souls go though the book is very magical I wasnt sure at first.

The age range for this book is 10 plus and I think thats about right. Any younger children might find it a bit scarey. I was fascinated and drawn in by the way the author told the story of Marinka a little girl who was unhappy with her lot and loved the way her character processed things as the story progressed. I loved the personality of both the house and the crow/raven and found the whole book to be magical despite its gloomy subject.

I hope to read more from this author as she writes.
17th March '19
I read it myself (an adult)
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
4 stars
To begin with I struggled to get into this story, by the time I got to chapter 6 I was hooked. So glad I didn’t give up. I’d heard great reviews and in the end this really did live up to them. I would quite like a Yaga house myself.
20th January '18
Pickle2007 read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
4 stars
A very enjoyable book to read. It is very exciting and is like you can see it happening right in front of you! I think I would be able to read it again and again. It is a very emotional book in all sorts of ways. The characters were well chosen. I just couldn't stop reading it!
6th January '18
ashley626 read it themselves aged 9 aged 9
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
3 stars
This is the story of Marinka who dreams of a normal life but she lives in a house that has chicken legs and likes to move about. It collects dead people through a dark hole called the "Gate" in a corner of one of the houses rooms. The house moves without warning and she never lives in one place long enough to make friends.
I found this book quite hard to get into and quite sad. I felt it was for an older age group and would have liked more pictures so that I could visualise more about what was going on. The characters were flat and although I felt sorry for Marinka, I didn't care about her enough. She is the living dead and can move between worlds and the stars guided by Baba Yaga and Old Yaga. The story is strange, based on old Russian folklore and although interesting I was not captivated.
30th January '18
clc read it themselves aged 8 aged 8
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
3 stars
The blurb booked me straightaway and I started to read it. I did find some parts of the book a bit upsetting and emotional and had to stop reading it for a while. My mum persuaded me to carry on reading it to get to the end and I’m glad that I did. I like the storylines and the way the characters were described and I could really imagine it in my head. 
18th March '18
birchbear read it themselves aged 9 aged 9
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
3 stars
What I liked about the book was that it retold a tale very well.However,what I did not like was that some of it was a bit boring.The characters were incredibly well described and you could really picture them in your head.I enjoyed the story but as I said before,I found it a bit boring.
11th January '18
Dragonflame read it themselves aged 12 aged 12
The House with Chicken Legs 9781474940665
3 stars
This book......

Is quite depressing. But if you like that type of stuff, it's perfect for you!

To begin, we join the story with Marinka (main character) her bird-friend Jack.

Marinka wishes to be a normal girl like any other, spending type with other people, going to the shops, daily life for us readers, but she can't, because her house (my fave character) has chicken legs, and a life of its own, and they travel around the world to collect the souls of the wondering dead, into a portal called "THE GATE" (dramatic music) 

The gate will accept any dead soul and help lead them to the "heaven, afterlife, nirvana" type thing.


I think this book was too upset for too long, but some people really like that. I really enjoyed the ending, which I won't spoil.   I wish this book had more drawings, and I kinda wished that they described the characters a bit more, as I found it hard to picture them in my head whilst reading.


I am very greatful to have received this book from a Toppsta giveaway, and I think it was alright.

What did you guys think of this book?
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About Sophie Anderson

Sophie Anderson grew up with stories in her blood, from her mother, who is a writer, to her Prussian grandmother, whose own storytelling inspired The House with Chicken Legs. Now living in the Lake District with her family, Sophie loves walking, canoeing and daydreaming. She spends every spare minute reading, and loves to talk about books online, offline and...

More about Sophie Anderson

About Elisa Paganelli

Jennifer Gray lives in London and Scotland with her husband, four children and friendly but enigmatic cat, Henry. She has written the Atticus Claw series, the Chicken Mission series and the Guinea Pigs Online series, co-written with Amanda Swift. The first book in the Atticus ser...

More about Elisa Paganelli

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