The Talking Eggs: A Folktale From the American South



A lesson in humanity laced with humor and magic.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

An old woman removes her head to brush her hair, and a character steals the head to blackmail the woman. Snakes, wasps, and a wolf chase wicked characters.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that detailed illustrations and a suspenseful story make this a surefire read-aloud.

Kids say

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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?

Book details

Author:Robert D. San Souci
Illustrator:Jerry Pinkney
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Penguin Group
Publication date:January 1, 1989
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7
Award:Coretta Scott King Medal and Honors

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bypinky99 December 11, 2008


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