Sody Sallyratus

Overview

In this spirited retelling of an Appalachian folktale, an old woman sends her son to the store for some sody sallyratus--what they used to call baking soda--to make biscuits for supper. When he doesn't return, the old woman sends someone else, and then someone else, until soon the whole family is eaten up by a bear who's just as hungry as they are. It's up to the family's pet squirrel to outsmart the bear and save the whole family. Full color.

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Overview

In this spirited retelling of an Appalachian folktale, an old woman sends her son to the store for some sody sallyratus--what they used to call baking soda--to make biscuits for supper. When he doesn't return, the old woman sends someone else, and then someone else, until soon the whole family is eaten up by a bear who's just as hungry as they are. It's up to the family's pet squirrel to outsmart the bear and save the whole family. Full color.

When one after another family member goes the store for baking soda and never returns, the pet squirrel decides to investigate in this retelling of a traditional Appalachian tale.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this tall tale, members of an Appalachian family try to obtain some sody sallyratus, "which is what they used to call bakin' soda," so they can make biscuits. One by one, a boy, girl, old man and old woman tramp over hill and dale to the general store; each stops to nibble berries and gets eaten by a hungry bear. The sole remaining family member, a pet squirrel, must outmaneuver the bear and rescue the foursome. (It's a happy ending for all-the bear runs off after spitting out the folks.) Sloat (The Thing That Bothered Farmer Brown) affects a hillbilly twang in her lively narration; her version is truer to the original (in Richard Chase's 1948 Grandfather Tales) than the spirited retelling offered by Joanne and Kenn Compton in their 1995 Sody Sallyratus. Sloat's version features detail-rich illustrations that fill every inch of space. The artist sets the mood with a cornucopia of autumnal colors against parchment-tone backdrops, then frames the scenery with borders of lashed-together saplings. On the closing page, there's even a biscuit recipe-and though it takes a while to stir the batter "till the dough follows the fork 'round the bowl," the results are as toothsome as the tale. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-In a return to the traditional after a recent incarnation as a Jack tale in Joanne Compton's retelling (Holiday, 1995), this hardy perennial of the storytellers' repertoire has its singsong back. The family-old man, old woman, little girl, little boy and the squirrel-found in Richard Chase's Grandfather Tales (Houghton, 1973)-is intact, as is the ditty, "Sody, sody, sody sallyratus." The gist of the story is that the old woman can't make biscuits because she's out of sody sallyratus (baking soda), and one by one, each character goes to fetch it and is swallowed by a bear. When even the old woman fails to return, the squirrel sets off, tricks the bear, who disgorges the family and they all return home for breakfast. Sloat deals more gently with the bear than did tellers of old. The appeal of the story is its wonderful repetition and rhythm that can lure even the shyest listener into chanting along. The folksy, autumnal drawings create a mountainside settlement filled with cheerful rawboned people, curiously irritable animals, and whimsical flora. Text is set off by twig-and-leaf frames. The last page contains a biscuit recipe and a note about the many uses of baking soda. The simplicity and repetition of the story make it good for young groups. Its driving inevitability makes it the sort of tale that draws novice tellers; its continuing appeal is affirmed by the two recent picture book treatments-and the success of both approaches affirms the elasticity of the oral tradition.-Sally Margolis, formerly at Deerfield Public Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Sody Sallyratus, the stuff that makes biscuits rise, will give readers a rise too, in this retelling of a familiar tale. Son, daughter, Pa, and Ma each head off to the general store to buy baking soda, only to get swallowed up on the return trip by a big bear. A little brown squirrel outfoxes the bear, by allowing himself to be chased up a tree whose branches then collapse under the bear's weight. Animal lovers needn't fret; the bear waddles off unharmed. Sloat (The Hungry Giant of the Tundra, 1993, etc.) adds a few touches of her own, and closes the book with a folksy recipe for baking soda biscuits. Filled with autumn oranges, browns, and the crunchy look of fallen leaves, the illustrations capture the boisterous energy of the story.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525456094
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/1997
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.58 (w) x 11.02 (h) x 0.37 (d)

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