The Hidden Feast: A Folktale from the American South

Overview

When the barnyard animals are invited to a party by their neighbors, they dress in their Sunday best and set off for a day of merriment. But when dinnertime arrives, the famished animals are perplexed to find a simple meal of cornbread. Most of the animals are polite but not Rooster who turns up his beak in disgust. Little did Rooster know that there is a surprise in the cornbread.

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Overview

When the barnyard animals are invited to a party by their neighbors, they dress in their Sunday best and set off for a day of merriment. But when dinnertime arrives, the famished animals are perplexed to find a simple meal of cornbread. Most of the animals are polite but not Rooster who turns up his beak in disgust. Little did Rooster know that there is a surprise in the cornbread.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The barnyard really swings in this Southern folktale first retold in print by Joel Chandler Harris, later by Julius Lester (The Last Tales of Uncle Remus, Dial 1994). Hamilton and Weiss add their own twists to the story of a farm full of animals invited to a party by their neighbors. Donning their Sunday best—Cow in her red polka-dot dress, Pig with his purple cap and striped umbrella—they prance off for an afternoon of games and dancing, including old favorites like "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" and the Hokey Pokey, happily "shaking it all about." When it is time for food, though, they cannot help being disappointed to see bowls of cornbread set before them; only Rooster is rude enough to complain, stalking off to home in a huff. Young listeners will be delighted to discover what Rooster missed and why he has always scratched so diligently for his food ever since. Painted in sharp-toned acrylics, the expressive faces of Tate's large, energetic animals project strong feelings from blissed-out to sulky. Southern idioms and Southern food provide local color, though it is a bit bizarre to see a pig eating bacon as a sheep seated next to him waves a piece of ham exactly the same color as Pig. The youngest singers and dancers might have fun linking these party animals with the hoedown in Sandra Boynton's Barnyard Dance (Workman, 1993), while browsers can enjoy identifying the hearty Southern dishes temptingly pictured on the endpapers. 2006, August House Littlefolk, Ages 2 to 6.
—Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-What might have been an engaging pourquoi story is instead tedious and anticlimactic. When the barnyard animals get invited to a party, they dress in their "Sunday best" and proceed to the neighboring farm. "Rooster led the way, strutting and crowing. Duck waddled behind. Cow moseyed along in her own sweet time. Pig strolled under his umbrella to keep from getting a sunburn. Goat pranced about, thinking of the feast they were going to eat. Horse trotted along-" and on, and on, with everyone painstakingly accounted for. When they finally get to the party, it's more of the same, with half a dozen unremarkable party games exhaustively remarked upon. Eventually everyone sits down to eat, and most of the guests politely disguise their dismay at being presented with plain cornbread. But Rooster stalks off in a huff-and later learns that each loaf of bread was baked around a succulent meal. Since then Rooster can always be found scratching at the ground, hoping never to miss out again. The story does not have an arc so much as a slow, steep climb followed by a precipitous drop. Tate's beautifully laid-out illustrations are a delight; it is unfortunate that they did not have a better narrative.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An invitation to a party brings neighboring animals to visit and play Pin the Tail on the Donkey (Donkey really doesn't want to play that), Hide and Seek and Horseshoes using Horse's shoes. Singing and dancing follows, and then the barnyard animals sit down to dinner. When that turns out to be large pots of cornbread, Rooster rudely leaves, declaring cornbread to be his everyday fare. However, once he learns that a wonderful and varied feast was hidden in the cornbread, he sulks and is never again content to see only what is on top. That's why to this day, he scratches and scratches beneath the food he finds. Tate's lushly painted acrylics capture the animals at their silliest and rooster at his sulkiest. This mostly literary retelling is filled with contemporary cliches and incorporates the motifs and plot structure of the traditional African-American tale. Fun for telling or reading. (Picture book/folktale. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874837582
  • Publisher: August House Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/25/2006
  • Pages: 100
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.68 (w) x 11.18 (h) x 0.35 (d)

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