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Bone Button Borscht Paperback – September 1, 1996
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3. In this ethnic variation of "Stone Soup," a hungry beggar comes to a poor town on a cold and snowy evening. No door is opened to him until he sees a light and enters the synagogue. The shamas does not answer his greeting so the beggar takes the five buttons off his coat and asks for one more in order to make Bone Button Borscht. Bowls, cups, ladles, and a pot wouldn't hurt either, he explains. As the shamas goes from door to door seeking the ingredients, the incredulous townspeople gather round and provide the food that will make the soup just a little more tasty. Such a miracle. Such a joyous feast. The stranger then goes on his way with better buttons on his coat and the townspeople left with a better spirit of neighborliness. The retelling provides a satisfying Eastern European setting for a classic folktale. Watercolor and pencil drawings help to flavor the stew.?Susan Pine, New York Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A fresh version of a familiar folk tale
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message is excellent, the writing sparse, clean, strong. An absolute gem.
On a dark winter's night a ragged beggar hobbles along. It's snowy and bitter cold, and there's a little town at the bottom of a hill.
... "Ah, there is nothing like being a beggar," he thinks. "Such good it brings out in people. They share. They give. And me? I get a little something too. It's perfect!"
But the town he finds is a stark, silent town. Everywhere he knocks, he's sent away. He follows a line of light in the snow, to a synagogue. The caretaker, the shamas, huddled in a corner, won't talk or respond, so the beggar has an idea. He grabs at the bone buttons on his coat and he tugs. Tchk! Tchk! Tchk! Tchk! Tchk! Five buttons!
"Oy," says the beggar, loudly, "IF ONLY I HAD ONE MORE BUTTON!"
"Oy," says the beggar, louder, "IF ONLY I HAD ONE MORE BUTTON!"
The shamas says, "Nobody in this town will give you a button..... we're poor, Mr. Beggar. We don't give to each other any more. So why should we give even a button to a stranger?"
"Why? Because with one more button," says the beggar, "I could make us a soup. I could make a nice hot borscht."
Well, the shamas is curious to see this miracle. The townsfolk are curious to see the miracle. And if you know Stone Soup, then you know what happens next. The townsfolk, bit by bit, are each finessed into giving a little something for their soup - in this case, for their bone button borscht. They give a little sugar and a little salt, some pepper and garlic and carrots and beets. And while everyone is gathered around for the miracle, the miracle is already happening.
Though they eat and they laugh and they make a great deal of merry, the miracle is not the borscht. They don't need a single button to make a soup. In times of scarcity, they need each other. And that, writes Davis, is ".. the real miracle the beggar left behind."
So you probably know Stone Soup. And so many other versions. But this one is truly delicious.