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Cactus Soup Paperback – April 1, 2011
"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
Grade 1-4–This Mexican variant of "Stone Soup" calls for a single cactus thorn as its base. The army captain repeatedly teases the poor people of San Miguel with the lament, "Why ask for something you don't have?," seducing the curious folk into adding still more ingredients like chiles, vegetables, and meat to his magical concoction, a yummy comestible that inevitably leads to a fiesta. Huling's elongated watercolor cartoons provide just the right playful, brown-hued visual temperament for the all-round festive deception. The glossary is welcome but, oddly, lacks a pronunciation guide. Even stranger, though, is the postscripted author's note, bizarrely politicizing an otherwise clever cultural retelling (although it gives the artist an opportunity to tack on interesting portraits of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata). Teachers can follow up with Marcia Brown's Stone Soup (Atheneum, 1947), a wonderful example of the international appeal–and ready adaptation–of timeless tales of human nature.–John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Gr. 1-3. Kimmel once recast the gingerbread boy as a traditional Mexican foodstuff in The Runaway Tortilla (2000); illustrator Huling's previous picture book, Puss in Cowboy Boots (2002), plunked Charles Perrault's wily cat in the Southwest. How appropriate, then, that the two should team up to create a chile-infused recipe for stone soup. Their version is set in the Mexico of the Zapatistas, and it's a regiment of revolutionaries who suggest cactus-spine soup to villagers made stingy by a mayor who warns that soldiers "eat like wolves!" But cactus soup, of course, isn't as tasty without salt, pepper, chiles, onions, beans, and a chicken or two . . . "But why ask for what you don't have?" Soon missing ingredients materialize by the basketful, resulting in a splendid feast for the hungry soldiers and a rousing fiesta for all. Kimmel's relaxed storytelling, accompanied by a glossary for those whose Spanish vocabulary may not encompass camote (sweet potato) and alcalde (mayor), is perfectly matched by the sun-baked watercolors by Huling, whose lanky villagers dwarfed by looming sombreros, swaybacked horses, and bowlegged vaqueros evoke both the exaggerated perspectives of Mexican muralists and the tongue-in-cheek universe of Speedy Gonzales. A savory stew to serve alongside traditional versions of the classic tale. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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