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The talking eggs : a folktale from the American South /

A Southern folktale in which kind Blanche, following the instructions of an old witch, gains riches, while her greedy sister makes fun of the old woman and is duly rewarded. Full description

Main Author:
Other Authors: Pinkney, Jerry,
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1989
Edition: First edition.
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The author of such delights as The Christmas Ark and The Enchanted Tapestry joins forces with illustrator Pinkney to resurrect a colorful folktale that captures the unique flavor of the American South. A 1989 Caldecott Honor Book.

Review by Booklist Review

Ages 5-8. A vibrant adaptation of a Creole folktale. In a circumstance familiar to readers of European fairy tales (the genesis of this story), Mother's favorite daughter, Rose, is spoiled and lazy. Sister Blanche is forced to do all the work; one day, after some harsh words from her mother, she runs away to the woods and meets an old woman who offers food and shelter if Blanche promises not to laugh at anything she sees. And there are some mighty weird sights at the woman's house: a two-headed cow, chickens of every color, and a bone and a grain of rice that combine to make a hearty stew. Most peculiar is the woman's ability to remove her own head and comb her hair. But Blanche is brave and kind no matter what she sees, and in the end she is rewarded with talking eggs, which contain riches. Naturally, after Blanche returns home with her gifts, Mother and Rose want their eggs, so Rose is sent to the old woman's cottage, where she encounters quite different results. Set in a post-Civil War South, the book mixes the ambience of that rural milieu with fantastic events in a way that is both credible and intriguing. Pinkney's richly colored art is equally fine in presenting oddities and realities, especially in his characters. Each of the females in this cast is distinct: Rose is as sly as Blanche is good. Expressively told, excitingly drawn, this special book will have wide appeal. --Ilene Cooper

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this adaptation of a Creole folktale, Blanche is kind, loving and patient, but her older sister Rose takes after their mean, sneaky mother. One day Blanche befriends a hideous old ``aunty'' on a path near her home and is rewarded with magic eggs. Of course, Rose and the girls' mother are beside themselves with envy, and Rose sets out to snag some eggs of her own. But greedy Rose's cruel nature gets her into trouble. She torments the old lady, grabs the wrong eggs and ends up ``angry, sore and stung.'' Pinkney's exquisitely wrought illustrations are close cousins to those in his Caldecott Honor Book Mirandy and Brother Wind , with similar woodlands and soft farmyard settings of the rural South. When the magic begins, the witch takes off her head, dressed-up rabbits do the Virginia reel and eggs begin to chatter. There are some spectacular scenes here. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-- This adaptation of a Creole folktale contains familiar European fairy tale elements, but certainly stands on its own and is a unique contribution to the American folktale repertoire. In imagistic language spiced with Southern folk flavor, San Souci tells of a cruel mother and her two daughters, Blanche and Rose. Rose is just like her mother, while Blanche is good and kind, and consequently abused. One day Blanche meets an old woman and treats her with a ``spirit of do-right.'' Soon they meet again, when Blanche runs away from mistreatment and the old woman takes her back to her house. And what marvels Blanche finds there--a two-headed cow, multi-colored chickens, abundant food from nothing, a hostess who takes off her head to comb her hair (the illustrations spare readers most of this last detail), and a glorious scene of rabbits engaged in country dancing. For being obedient, Blanche is rewarded with magic talking eggs that turn into everything she's ever wanted. As expected, her greedy family wants to get in on the action, but Rose, of course, fails to follow the old woman's instructions, and gets nothing but a plague of snakes, toads, frogs, and the like. This lesson about virtue rewarded and greed punished is illustrated with Pinkney's lush, detailed watercolor and pencil art, which literally interprets the story and provides abundant detail. The characters are black, the setting rural, and the themes universal. --Leda Schubert, Vermont Department of Education, Montpelier (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Robert D. San Souci was born on October 10, 1946 in San Francisco, California. He attended college at St. Mary's College in Moraga. After holding jobs in book stores and in publishing, he became a full-time author in 1974.

He was best known for his adaptations of folklore for children. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 100 books for young readers including Song of Sedna, Kate Shelley: Bound for Legend, The Talking Eggs, Two Bear Cubs, Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella, Brave Margaret: An Irish Tale, Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow, and Cinderella Skeleton. He wrote 12 books which were illustrated by his younger brother Daniel San Souci including The Legend of Scarface, Sister Tricksters: Rollicking Tales of Clever Females, and As Luck Would Have It: From The Brothers Grimm. He also wrote nonfiction works for children, several novels for adults, and the film story for Disney's Mulan.

The Legend of Scarface won the Notable Children's Trade Book in the Social Studies, National Council for the Social Studies, and was a Horn Book honor list citation. Sukey and the Mermaid won the American Library Association's Notable Book citation in 1992 and Cut from the Same Cloth won an Aesop Award from the Children's Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society. He died on December 19, 2014 at the age of 68.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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