The Blue Cup by Arkady Gaidar

In this post, we will see the book The Blue Cup by Arkady Gaidar.

About the book

The Blue Cup (Russian: Голубая чашка) is a 1936 Russian language short story written by the Soviet author Arkady Gaidar. The book tells us the story of a little girl Svetlana who goes on a road trip adventure with her father.


The protagonist and his six-year-old daughter Svetlana arrive at a dacha in playful moods, but their (respective) wife and mother Marusya has other ideas: she burdens them with petty tasks, then departs (apparently in a sulk) to accompany her old friend, a pilot, to the station.

Next morning, before going uptown, she blames her husband and daughter for breaking her blue cup in a store-room. Taking this unjust accusation as a proverbial last straw, both leave the house and embark upon an eventful and chaotic day-long “adventure”. It involves pacifying the two boys (one of whom accuses another of being ‘a fascist’ for using an insult word ‘jidovka’ with regards to a Jewish girl), walking straight into a military exercise site with a lot of shooting going on, losing their stock of gingerbread to a four-year old, but getting a kitten from him as a reward, and near-drowning in a marsh.

They return home at dusk, find Marusya worried and happy to see them and spend a lovely evening, with Svetlana (who initially expressed pessimism on that point) admitting that “life’s a good thing, after all”. The mystery of a blue cup’s demise remains, though, unsolved

The book was translated from Russian by Bernard Issacs and the illustrations are by D. Dubinsky. The book was published by Raduga in 1988 and previously by Progress in 1975.

The story incited the heated discussion, parents, teachers and librarians participating in disputes, held by the Soviet literary and pedagogical journals and newspapers. Some found the story too abstract, its composition amorphous, the undercurrent issue (that of an implied family conflict) too ‘adult’ for the children’s literature. According to biographer F. Ebin, though, –

The majority defended the new Gaidar’s story. People wrote in, telling how young children enjoyed this atmosphere of love, sunlight and happiness pervading the story, sympathizing with Svetlana and her father who breathe in the sweet air of freedom, resent indignation at those who spoil the Soviet people’s happy life, occasionally laughing at them. Adult readers certainly guessed a lyrical undercurrent… but for people of all ages the deep patriotic value of this story is obvious.

The text citations used in the post are from Wikipedia article on the book.

There exists Malayalam, Bengali and Hindi versions of this book, but we don’t have these in electronic format. If you know of any other translations or have links to other language version please post them.

All credits to Guptaji.

You can get the book here (cleaned) and here.

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This entry was posted in books, children's books, children's stories, progress publishers, raduga publishers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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