Monday, June 2, 2014

"The Talking Eggs"

Back we go to the Kind and the Unkind Girls!

After looking at the history of the tale and some of the older, written versions, I took a peek at some of the more recent retellings.  Over the next few days we will look at four of these.  They are mostly in a picture book type format and written for the 4-10 age set but all ages can and should read picture books.  

The Talking Eggs
The first is "The Talking Eggs", one of my favorite picture books!  It is retold by Robert D. San Souci and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.  This book is what led me to investigate "The Tale of the Kind and the Unkind Girls". It begins like this - "Back in the old days there was a widow with two daughters named Rose and Blanche.  They lived on a farm so poor, it looked like the tail-end of bad luck"! When you first read this book, you immediately think of a Cinderella story - but it doesn't quite mesh with Cinderella.  For one thing, there is no Fairy Godmother.  Instead there's an old witch!  “The Talking Eggs” is, in fact, adapted from Creole version of the Tale of the Kind and Unkind Girls.  The kind daughter is Blanche, who is greatly abused by her mother and her mean older sister.  One day, she is sent to the well to fetch water and finds an old woman, begging for a drink.  She obliges and returns home, only to be greeted by a beating.  So she runs away, right into the arms of the old aunty from the well.  She invites Blanche to come home with her, but tells her she must not laugh at anything she sees.  Thus the story unfolds; Blanche  follows the instruction of the old witch and is richly rewarded. Mean older sister Rose, on the other hand, tries to duplicate Blanche's adventure.  Of course, she makes fun of the witch and is soundly punished. Robert D. San Souci does a delightful job of recreating this version of the tale set deep in Louisiana. And Pinkney’s illustrations make the book truly magical. In fact, the book was awarded a Caldecott Honor Medal in 1990.  If you have never read this story, please do yourself a favor and check it out from your local library.