Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Talking Eggs by Robert D. San Souci and Jerry Pinkney and Discussion Guide

When my kids were little, we read the book called "The Talking Eggs" by Robert D. San Souci (Author), Jerry Pinkney (Illustrator).  First of all, let me just say that I adore anything that is illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.  If the story doesn't stand out, he's not going to put his name on the book as illustrator.  It's a perfect Easter story and would be a great addition to any  literature circle, Character Education lesson, or just for fun.  The story goes something like this. 

Two sisters lived down Louisiana way long ago: Rose, who was unpleasant, mean, and the older of the two; and her younger sister, Blanche, who was "sweet and kind and sharp as forty crickets." Guess who has to do all the work for Rose and their mother? Blanche's kind and obedient nature finally pays off when she helps an old woman who has magical powers--and a chicken house full of talking eggs containing treasures for those who do as they're told: gold and silver, jewels, silk dresses, satin shoes, "even a handsome carriage that grew in a wink from the size of a matchbox...." Robert D. San Souci's lively, humorous retelling of this Creole folktale abounds with colorful expressions, and Jerry Pinkney's full-page illustrations make us believe in the marvels that Blanche finds, even the two-headed cow, square-dancing rabbits, and rainbow-colored chickens! This inspired collaboration, a 1989 Caldecott Honor Book, will delight young readers who like a captivating story with a strong heroine and a dash of mystery. (Ages 5 to 10) --Marcie Bovetz            
Front Cover

From Publishers 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.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The Talking Eggs Discussion Guide

Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 

Grade Level Equivalent: 3.5
Before Reading
Children will bring to this book a familiarity with folktales and a love for a well-told story. The Talking Eggs will delight them with its good and evil characters, its strange and magical happenings, and its fresh and natural language.
Tell students that they will be reading a folktale about two sisters—a “good” sister and a “bad” sister. Draw upon their prior experience with literature by asking them to think of other folktales or fairy tales that have “good” or “evil” characters. Discuss these characters in such classic tales as The Mitten, Stone Soup, The Three Billy-Goats Gruff, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, or other tales with which the children are familiar.

Extend the discussion by asking students to name personality traits or behavior shared by the good characters they mentioned and traits shared by the bad or evil characters. You may wish to use concept maps to organize students' responses. As students volunteer words for the maps, have them support their suggestions with specific examples of characters and their behavior from folktales or fairy tales. Be sure to save the maps for further use.

Good Characters:  (center of web)
Branches of web:  Answers may include: kind; truthful; brave; hard-working; helpful to others; and can be trusted.

Bad Characters:  (center of web)
Branches of web:  Answers may include: cruel; lazy; jealous; selfish; greedy; can't be trusted; and lying.
  • Subjects:
    Literature, Plot, Character, Setting, Literature Appreciation, Vocabulary, Siblings
  • Skills:
    Plot, Character and Setting, Vocabulary


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