The Talking Eggs

( 8 )

Overview

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.

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.

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Overview

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.

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
This is an adaptation of a Creole folktale involving Blanche, whose kindness to an old witch gains her riches, while her sister who makes fun of the old woman is also duly rewarded. The wondrous talking eggs prove that the plainest object may conceal treasures within.
School Library Journal
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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803706194
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/1989
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 103,658
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.32 (w) x 10.27 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2007

    The story reveals an important lesson.

    Robert Souci always knew he wanted to be a writer even before he could ever write. He would listen closely as people would read to him, and he loved it. Many of his picture books retell fairy tales, myths, folktales, and legends around the world. Robert has received two Caldecott awards for The Talking Eggs and The Faithful Friend. Three of his books have also been named Coretta Scott King Honor Books. The Talking Eggs is a story of two sisters, Rose and Blanche. Rose is spoiled and lazy, but she is her mother¿s favorite. Blanche is a slave to her sister and mother. One day Blanche finds an old woman by the well and changes her life forever. In the book the old woman says ¿And since you are such a good girl, I got a present for you.¿ What happens to Blanche? Does she find a better life for herself or is she stuck with her mean family? Read the rest of the book to find out. The lesson of the story is that beauty may hide ugliness while sometimes the plainest of all objects will conceal the most beautiful treasures. The reading level of the book is second grade, ninth month. I liked the book, and it revealed a very important message. Souci, Robert D. San. The Talking Eggs. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1989.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2006

    The Talking Eggs

    Caldecott If you like the story of Cinderella this is a book for you. This is a charming little folktale about two sisters one mean and greedy, the other generous and kind and their encounter with a strange, magical old woman who wanted ¿a sip of water¿. In the end, the good sister is rewarded and the bad one punished. This is a nice story with a good message. A native Californian, Robert D. San Souci was born in San Francisco and raised across the bay in Berkeley. Bibliography San Souci, Robert D. The Talking Eggs. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1989.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    Cute story

    A young, hardworking girl named Blanche gives an old woman a drink of water one day at the well. The old woman tells Blanche that she will be ¿blessed¿ because she has a do good spirit. When Blanche returned home from the well her mother and sister, Rose, are mad at her for taking so long at the well to fetch the water and begin to be very mean to Blanche. Because of this Blanche runs into the woods and begins to cry. Then the old woman came and took her home with her but Blanche had to promise not to laugh at her home. While at the woman¿s house Blanche sees very different things, but does not laugh. The old lady allowed Blanche to take some eggs home with her, but she could only take the eggs that said, ¿Take me.¿ Blanche did so and the eggs turned into wonderful surprises and when she got home her mother and Rose wanted to find the old woman and get surprises for themselves. Find out if they found the old woman or not when you read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2006

    i loved this book as a child

    I'm now in high school and i can actually remember reading this book when i was little. It is very creative and has a good moral. Read this book to your children!!! they will love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2005

    I first read this book when I was eight

    I read this book in forth grade and fell in love, fifteen years later I still remember this book and still love it.Its an amazing story that I would surely pass down to my children one day.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2001

    An Imaginative, Heart-Warming Variation on Cinderella

    This book received a Caldecott Honor as one of the best illustrated children's books in 1990. The rich, subtle watercolors expand the reader's appreciation of the story, and help keep some of its stronger elements in balance for younger children. The story itself is a cross between several favorite fairy tales, most significantly Cinderella, and represents a retelling of a Creole story from the American South. A widow has two daughters, and lives with them on a poor farm that 'looked like the tail end of bad luck.' Rose, who was like her mother, was 'cross and mean and didn't know beans from birds' eggs.' Her sister, Blanche, was 'sweet and kind and sharp as forty crickets.' Unfortunately, their mother liked Rose best because they were so similar, being 'bad-tempered, sharp-tongued, and always putting on airs.' While the two of them chatted, Blanche did the work. One day, Blanche was getting water and ran into an older woman who asked for a drink. Blanche helped her. As a result, Blanche was late returning and received much ill-treatment from her mother and sister. Running off, Blanche saw the old woman again, who asked Blanche to join her. She warned Blanche not to laugh and to do as she was told. Soon, they are in a magical place where all kinds of strange things happen. But there is plenty to eat and drink. At the end, Blanche is told to bring back certain talking eggs and throw them over her shoulder. When she does, a nice set of surprises occurs. Immediately jealous, her mother sends Rose to the old woman to get similar help. But Rose cannot follow directions, and the magic either doesn't work for her or causes her problems. In each case, justice is done. The story is told in an imaginative way that makes the reader want to know what will happen next. Unlike many fairy tales where you can pretty much outline the rest of the plot near the beginning, this one has some interesting, unexpected twists. The writing is witty, and makes good use of the story's inherent charm in praising goodness of character. If you have a sensitive child, this may not be the right book for you to acquire. The treatment of Blanche can upset some children. The magic involves creatures having two heads, and the old woman being able to take her head on and off again. In one scene, Rose takes the woman's head as a ploy to get some talking eggs, too. You can see how this might be a bit much for a sensitive four year old. Children who are able to suspend their sense of reality will probably have no problems with the story. I enjoyed the watercolors very much. They provided a richness in their exquisite detail that made me feel good just holding the book. Also, it made the book seem more sophisticated than the typical treatment of fairy and folk tales. The book deals with many realistic problems that occur in families, like having only one parent, not having enough money, having one child be favored over another, having one child be treated poorly, and children looking for sympathy from nonfamily members. This will provide many opportunities to discuss these issues, and find out what your child thinks. I also suggest that you talk about whether or not Blanche should have gone off with the old woman. The book seems to suggest that looking for help from strangers is a good idea. That's not an idea that I wanted my children to have, so you will probably wnat to clarify your feelings on this subject as you read the book. May all be loved, and treated fairly! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2006

    Excellent story

    Well told, well illustrated. My three year old had me read it again and again. Would highly recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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