Fandango Stew

( 4 )


Chili's good, so is barbecue, but nothing's finer than FANDANGO STEW!   No money? No problem! In this sunny, funny western-style take on the famous folktale “Stone Soup,” two penniless but wily vaqueros (cowboys) trick a whole town into cooking a giant pot of stew for everyone to share.   David Davis's deliciously colorful language and Ben Galbraith's delightful illustrations make this picture book a tasty confection. 
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Chili's good, so is barbecue, but nothing's finer than FANDANGO STEW!   No money? No problem! In this sunny, funny western-style take on the famous folktale “Stone Soup,” two penniless but wily vaqueros (cowboys) trick a whole town into cooking a giant pot of stew for everyone to share.   David Davis's deliciously colorful language and Ben Galbraith's delightful illustrations make this picture book a tasty confection. 
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Davis (Texas Aesop's Fables) offers a Western version of the "Stone Soup" folktale. He uses a "fandango bean" in the place of the stone and sets the action in a town named Skinflint—populated by a collection of pompous misers who fall like ninepins for the sly patter of Slim and Luis. "This stew smells good, muchachos," Luis says. "Not as tasty as that batch over in Dog Leg Gulch—but good." When Slim says, "It can't be helped, amigo. We had potatoes in Dog Leg Gulch. This is Skinflint," a lawyer goes scurrying for potatoes. Repeated motifs ("Chili's good,/ so is barbecue,/ but nothing's finer than/ fandango stew!") and the mix of cowboy lingo and Spanish words add to the book's read-aloud charm, while Galbraith's (The Three Fishing Brothers Gruff) spreads more than do justice to the story. He crowds his work with handsome period details—brick buildings with false facades, handlebar mustaches, Slim's 10-gallon hat, and Luis's sombrero. The light that falls on all these objects is peculiarly chilly and fresh, adding to the innovative staging of this classic tale. Ages 3–up. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4—Slim and his grandson, Luis, ride into Skinflint hungry enough to "eat a boiled leather boot." Unfortunately, neither has a peso, so it looks like fandango stew for supper again. "Chili's good, so is barbecue,/but nothing's FINER than FANDANGO STEW!" When the sheriff is less than welcoming, they convince the town to let them prepare their famous dish for everyone to share. A big pot, some water, and one exceptional fandango bean will feed them all. Of course, additional ingredients would be much appreciated, and the townsfolk are happy to add potatoes, spices, vegetables, and rice to the kettle. When the stew is done, there's a celebration, and everyone eats their fill. The clever hombres have outwitted an entire populace again, and the next morning they ride off into the sunrise. Cleverly peppered with Spanish words and cowboy expressions, the text will delight young buckaroos. The story is familiar (this is "Stone Soup," the Wild West edition), but the setting breathes some new life into the tale. Readers should be able to translate the Spanish words through contextual clues, and the jargon is delightful. The illustrations, while vivid and full of clever detail, tend to lack dimension. In some scenes, characters appear to be walking on top of buildings, which may be a bit confusing to children. The colors are warm, and a red bandana pattern adorns the endpapers. A great read-aloud for just the right accent.—C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY
Kirkus Reviews

In this flavorful Wild West version of the classic "Stone Soup" tale, penniless Slim and his grandson, Luis, ride into the town of Skinflint, where, in the face of tremendous odds, they manage to rustle up a delicious stew with only one bean, inveigle in participation with his repetition of, "Chili's good, so is barbecue, but nothing's FINER than FANDANGO STEW!" The toe-tapping refrain repeats in two- to 47-part harmony, as the sheriff who wants to run them out of town, the scoffing mayor and the shopkeeper become curious enough to let the two loco hombres make stew for the whole town with just one fandango bean. As the curious townspeople, including the teacher and schoolchildren and the Skinflint Culture Club ladies, gather around, each volunteers ingredients, and each joins in what becomes a fandango stew fiesta and "the best dang stew shindig" ever seen. The chorus of voices repeating the refrain begs to be read aloud with audience participation, and Slim's parting advice that "Any bean makes a fine fandango stew. Just add generosity and kindness," hits the spot. Galbraith's mixed-media illustrations brim with humor, and design elements such as old-timey poster display type and colorful bandana endpapers provide just the right accompaniment to the folksy tale. (Picture book. 3-10)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402765278
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 254,977
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

David Davis lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and is an active presenter at schools, conferences, and libraries. He has written more than a dozen picture books, including Green Mother Goose (Sterling), Texas Zeke and the Longhorn, Librarian’s Night Before Christmas, Redneck Night Before Christmas, Ten Redneck Babies, and Jazz Cats (all Pelican). These last two titles were both named to the Children’s Choice Top 100 list. Visit David at   Ben Galbraith lives in Sydney, Australia, where he works as a packaging designer. Fandango Stew is the third picture book Ben has illustrated. He is the author and illustrator of The Three Fishing Brothers Gruff (Hachette), which was praised by Publishers Weekly: “Working very much in the vein of Lane Smith, Galbraith produces a book both visually hip and handsome.” Visit Ben at
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2012


    My girls (3 & 5) loved this book!! Soo great! I would highly recommend!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2011

    Highly Recommended - Excellent Fantastic writing!

    David Davis has hit a grand slam with this book! You must check it out!

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  • Posted February 23, 2011

    Fandango Fantastic! Great reviews in Wall Street Journal and Kirkus!

    David Davis' book says, "Chile's good, so is barbecue, but nothing's finer than FANDANGO STEW!"
    Youngsters and adults will enjoy this rip-roaring fun book based on a Western retelling of "Stone Soup". The timeless message of generosity and kindness will resonate with parents, teachers, librarians and kids. I highly recommend this for your home and school libraries. A great read-aloud with lots of humor and excitement with a Tex-Mex multicultural flavor, too. The detailed and fantastic illustrations are right-on for this child-pleasing book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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