What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that detailed illustrations and a suspenseful story make this a surefire read-aloud.
What's the story?
Children will be enthralled by the cow that brays like a mule, a magical pot that produces stew from a bone, and eggs that hatch jewels. Along with the humor and magic found in this down-home Creole tale is a lesson in humanity.
Is it any good?
There's more to this tale than magic and treasure -- ultimately, it's about a girl who retains her humanity under difficult circumstances. Her reward is more than jewels and earthly goods; she earns the satisfaction of being a good person. Readers will enjoy Blanche's quiet, thoughtful approach to dealing with her mother and sister, and her efforts to keep a straight face at the sight of rabbits dancing the Virginia reel.
Robert D. San Souci captures the reader's attention with simple language that brings the country setting to life: "They lived on a farm so poor, it looked like the tail end of bad luck." And Jerry Pinkney's watercolors convey the sharp contrast between Blanche's difficult home life and the hilarious celebration at the old woman's home. The art is most effective in setting the mood of the mysterious backwoods and the old woman's home. The cover illustration, which shows Blanche and the crone on a forest path, gives a hint of this tone -- and those who look carefully will see trees with faces and wide-open mouths.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the rewards of hard work, goodness, and decency. What do the characters learn?