Who are they? And why do we encounter them in the book of Russian as a foreign language?
When I was writing “Sarafan 1,” my idea was to show Russia and tell some facts about this mysterious and faraway country.
As the country is huge, it was hard to make a choice. That’s why I preferred to go on the beaten track. Being from the Ural region, I decided to choose the characters from the “Ural tales,” which were collected and published by Pavel Petrovich Bazhov. I grew up with the characters of these tales: the Silver Hoof, the Fire-Fairy, the Stone Flower and the Mistress of the Copper Mountain, who could turn into a little lizard. So you walk in the forest, see a little lizard and think: “Could it be the Mistress herself?”
Besides the Ural, the characters of “Sarafan 1” fly to Kamchatka and see volcanoes there. They view the Northern Lights in Murmansk and visit Lake Baikal.
Why do they choose these places for visiting?
It is no accident. When I was selecting material for the course, I recalled how one boy living in the U.S. became interested in the Northern Lights. Then I thought that for other boys and girls, it might also be interesting.
Also, my pen friend from France constantly mentioned Lake Baikal in conversations. She even started to learn Russian, because she dreamed of visiting this place.
As for Kamchatka, it is a remote and hard-to-reach region; I read about it when I was a child. And recently one of my students traveled with his parents to Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. to see geysers. When they came back from the trip, he asked me, “Are there any geysers in Russia?” This is how geysers and Kamchatka appeared in the Sarafan book.
As you may see, there is little information about Moscow and St. Petersburg in the book; there is only a short reference to the Moscow Museum. However, it has enough information about monuments from other cities, such as those devoted to the Nose, the Letter “YO,” the Family and others. What’s the reason? Believe me, I love both Moscow and St. Petersburg, and I really have something to tell about these cities. In other books and sources, a lot is written about them, but nothing is written about the Ural and Kamchatka.
Finally, in “Sarafan 1” there is a thing that only a few people can notice. In the beginning of the story we meet aliens who are looking for a landing site; and Natasha who goes with her cat Sasha from Chelyabinsk to the country, explaining the grammar rules on the way. The details that we learn from different pages in the beginning, we encounter in the last pages, as well.
Natasha and Sasha find a baby alien on the lakeshore somewhere in the Ural, bring him tea and send him home to his mother. At the end of the story we see a quote from the popular cartoon.
I hope I have answered all questions concerning country studies in “Sarafan 1.” If anything remains unclear, you are welcome to write your questions in the commentary sections. All the best!