The Apartment: A Century of Russian History
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In this striking view into Russian history, Litvina and Desnitskaya present four generations of the fictional Muromtsev family in the same Moscow apartment between 1902 and 2002. Each large-format spread features densely detailed cutaways of the home in naif cartoon-style art, revealing everyday lives often impacted by political upheaval, famine, and wars. Family members take turns narrating in featured years: “Mama came home crying. She had traded the spoons for a piece of horsemeat, but on the way home, she was attacked... by a pack of stray dogs,” a young Marusya Muromtseva reports in 1919. Apartment scenes alternate with spreads providing historical context, including labeled vignettes of objects popular at the time, and a search-and-find game, with red question marks, invites readers to find items in previous illustrations. Originally published in Russia, the volume features poems, song lyrics, news clippings, and signs in Russian. The book’s breadth of detail, complicated Russian history, and family sagas may overwhelm some readers, but a glossary, index, and timeline of Russian and Soviet history provide additional support. This illustrated “living museum” allows readers to glimpse ordinary lives through some not-so-ordinary times. Ages 8–12. (Nov.)
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