The Talking Eggs

by Robert D. San Souci

Other authorsJerry Pinkney (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1989

Call number



Dial Books for Young Readers (1989), Edition: 1st, 32 pages


A Southern folktale in which kind Blanche, following the instructions of an old witch, gains riches, while her greedy sister makes fun of the old woman and is duly rewarded.

User reviews

LibraryThing member lleighton05
Genre: This story cleary describes the distinction between the evil sister and mother, and the good sister. Like most folktales, the good sister prevails in the end because she is considerate, kind, and not selfish.
Style: This story has good imagery and uses many characteristics of
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style to help connect the reader to the story. For example, it uses similes and metaphors to compare things such as: " as forty crickets" and "...horns like corkscrews."
Media: watercolor/penicl
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LibraryThing member elpowers
Very beautiful book, could scare small children- for older kids.
LibraryThing member jadepumpsthejams
A family lives in Louisiana in the late-nineteenth century. The weather is hot and muggy. Their lives are touched and changed by a magical woman who lives in the woods. The story suggests that the reader be kind, do good work, practice generosity and open-mindedness. Good will come to you. The
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culture seems to encompass magical elements. The braids, clothing, baskets, and spinning wheel denote country life and work. Values are displayed by Blanche's use of the word “auntie” when referring to the woman she meets. The square dance, cake walk and “Virginia reel” dancing give a glimpse of cultural art.
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LibraryThing member kp119190
The Talking Eggs is a book about a girl who is mistreated by her mother and sister. One day the girl is sent to get some water from the well. When the girl gets to the well she sees an elderly lady who asks her to give her some water so the girl does. The lady says god will bless you. When the girl
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gets back home the mom complains that the water is hot and yells at her. The girl leaves and runs in to the lady again The lady says she can go home with her as long as she doesn’t laugh at her home so she promises. The girl does not laugh. The girl does everything that the lady says the next day the Lady tells her to go to the chicken house and gets the egss that say take me and the ones that don’t say take me leave them and when she gets home to throw them over her shoulder. The girl does as she was told and out pops expensive clothing, jewelry, and a carriage. When the girl gets home the mother ask where she got it so she tells them. The mom then sends the other girl. Once there the other girl does not obey the lady and out of her eggs pop snakes and spiders. She returns home and has nothing while the girl went to the city to live.

I loved this book in that tells about listening to you elders.

I think this would make a good lesson about obeying your elders.
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LibraryThing member Cottonwood.School
A Southern folktale in which kind Blanche, following the instructions of an old witch, gains riches, while her greedy sister makes fun of the old woman and is duly rewarded.
LibraryThing member mhackman
A Cinderella-like story. A girl is the slave for her sister and mother. In the woods she meets a witch who tests her character and rewards her for being "good" and later punishes the nasty sister for being "bad".
LibraryThing member kwillis
A creole American south folktale with a rags to riches storyline. The plot is predictable for a seasoned fairy tale reader, where the good moralled girl is rewarded and the mean moralled characters are punished, but the magical elements in the story keep the tale exciting and interesting. The
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pictures are intricately done watercolors with a hidden picture feel.
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LibraryThing member KristinWhite
This is a good book for children Kindergarten to Third grade. It teaches children to be honest and true to their word. I would read this book to children especially if the word of the week is "honest."
LibraryThing member ejhamilton
This was a really interesting story. It was about two sisters who's mother loved one more than the other. The unloved sister went into the woods and meet a woman who invited her back to her house and this woman was magical. The woman gave her specific orders about her magic eggs and because this
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sister was obedient and had good morals she was blessed with many riches. The illustrations were handdrawn and very colorful.
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LibraryThing member conuly
This is apparently a traditional Creole folktale. It reminds me a lot of Diamonds and Toads, and a lot of Baba Yaga, frankly, but maybe I read too many fairy tales?

At any rate, this is the standard "Nice girl follows instructions and gets lucky while her mean older sister is contrary to the bone
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and pays for it" sort of story, but it's enlivened by the dialect and the illustrations.
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LibraryThing member PeterSinclair
Rose and Blanche are sisters. Rose is thorny and blanche is pure as snow. The mother is as loathsome as Rose. One day, Blanche is fetching water for her sister and encounters an old lady, who she gladly gives water. The mysterious old lady invites Blanche to her house, and asks her not to laugh at
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anything she sees. Blanche obeys and is greatly rewarded. When the evil mother and sister see Blanche's wealth, they plot to acquire the same. Their selfishness foils the plan and they remain poor and miserable while Blanche lives as a wealthy lady in the city.
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LibraryThing member kb143317
A young girl named Blanche is kind to an old woman at the watering well. The old woman invites Blanche to her home where she witnesses strange animals, sees food multiply in front of her eyes, and is given permission to take the eggs that say “take me” from the chicken coop. Blanche throws the
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eggs as instructed by the old women and the finest possessions she could imagine trickle out of them. After Blanche returns home, her mother and sister question her about where she got the nice things from. Blanche answers, “From the old woman I met at the watering well”. The next morning, her sister Rose goes out to find the old woman so she too can have beautiful possessions. Rose is invited to the home of the old woman as well. When they arrive Rose laughs at the animals, complains about cooking, and when given permission to take the eggs that say “take me” from the chicken coop she takes the eggs that say “leave me” instead. Rose throws the eggs as instructed by the old woman and is surprised not by the finest possessions she could imagine but by the unpleasant animals that emerged out of them.

The illustrations of this story were created with pencil, colored pencils, and watercolor. These medias help create a rustic feel for this American South folktale.

Extension Ideas

1. Have the children draw a picture of throwing plain eggs over their shoulder and of the things they most desire trickling out of the eggs.

2. Have each student create a fancy “leave me” egg by decorating a hard-boiled egg. (Would work best around Easter time)
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LibraryThing member eevers
The watercolors of Jerry Pinkney are always memorable. This is a great adaptation of the Cinderella story with a moral added on.
LibraryThing member ericha.anderson
Picture Book/ Folktale
This traditional folktale teaches a moral lesson about having good morals and resisting the urge to be greedy. Rose and Blanche are sisters. Rose is favored by her mother because they are both nasty and cruel. Blanche is sweet and pure. One day, Blanche meets an old woman in
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the woods who invites her to her home. When she arrives, she sees several strange and unusual things. She resists the urge to laugh in order to spare the feeling of the old woman. The old woman tells her she may have any eggs from the hen house that say "take me". She instructs her to throw them over her shoulder on the way home. Blanche does as the woman tells her to and the eggs turn to riches and treasures. When she gets home and tells her mother and Rose about the woman, her mother instructs Rose to find this woman and the eggs for more treasure. Rose goes to the womans house, but she can not resist the urge to laugh. Instead of taking the eggs that say "take me" she takes the eggs that say "don't take me" because she thinks they are much more beautiful. When she throws them over her shoulder, they turn into snakes and spiders. Blanche escapes to the city with her riches and Rose and her mother are left with nothing.
The protagonist and antogonist are easily identified in this Cinderella-like story. Excellent resource for teaching about character traits and comparing and contrasting in literature. Children will enjoy all of the magic in sthe story.
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LibraryThing member BKorfel
I liked how this book not only entertains, but teaches some very valuable lessons in life and living. It has alot of realistic problems that stand the test of time such as having only one parent or not having enough money. Classroom use: I really like how folktales embed lessons most of the time
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that are great for honest group discussions. I'd use this as a read aloud for discussion.
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LibraryThing member savannah.julian
Blanche's mother favors her sister more because they are both cruel, greedy, and lazy. One day when Blanche is fetching water for her thirsty sister she meets an old women and gives her some water. The old woman invites Blanche to her home where she sees strange animals and magical food. Before
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Blanche leaves to go back home to her abusive family, the old woman gives her permission to take eggs from her coop that say “take me”, but to not take the ones that say "leave me". When she enters the coop, all the plain white eggs say "take me", but the eggs saying "leave me" are covered in beautiful jews. Blanches resists and takes the white ones like the woman says and does what she is instructed by throwing the eggs over her shoulder as she walks home. When she does this, the finest possessions she could ever imagine trickle out of them. When Blanche returns home, her mother and sister are incredibly jealous, so her mother instructs Rose to go visit the old woman the next day. She is offered the same thing as Blanche, but she takes the jeweled eggs instead. When she throws them over her shoulder, horrible beasts and animals come out of them they chase her and her mother into the forest.
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LibraryThing member IEliasson
The Talking Eggs by Robert San Souci is a retelling of a Creole folktale of a wicked elder sister, Rose, who is favored by her mother and the ill-treated younger sister, Blanche, who is rewarded with riches for her kindness and obedience to an old witch. The lush watercolor illustrations by Jerry
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Pinkney captivate the reader with their detailed depictions of the woodsy bayou setting, the family’s ramshackle farmhouse, and the old woman’s enchanted cabin where the chickens are feathered in rainbows, the two-headed cow brays like a mule, and elegantly dressed rabbits dance the reel.. The sour and superior demeanor of Rose and her mother are nicely juxtaposed with the sweet and kind countenances of Blanche and the old woman. A captivating rendition of a Louisiana fable that will delight children with its satisfying conclusion of poetic justice.
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LibraryThing member jkauk
Rosa is very mistreated by her mother and older sister. She finds it hard to fit in with them. One day she meets an old woman and ventures to the old womans home. She sees things that are quite strange, yet marvelous. For helping and spending time with the old woman, Rosa gets a gift of gathering
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eggs. However, these are not just ordinary eggs. They are very special eggs; some are colored gold and silver with jewels while others are just ordinary. These eggs also talk and tell Rosa which eggs to take. On her way home Rosa discovers there are hidden treasures in the eggs. Her older sister and mother are very jealous of Rosa’s special eggs. The mother and sister plot to steal the eggs from the old woman. They did not listen to the eggs and end up with some very scary treasures.

I could relate to this story because I do not always look for beauty on the inside. It helped to remind me that beauty is found on the inside as well as the outside. Although something may look good on the outside the inside could be filled with bad. Something I need to pay more attention to.

One classroom lesson that could be taught to the children is that sometimes what you see is not always what you get. An activity the children could do is to allow them to create their own talking eggs. The children can put whatever “treasures” they want into their eggs and then let the other children gather the eggs to see what is inside of them.
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LibraryThing member Leah08
This is a good example of a folk tale. It is written in a simple way with easily understood plot, characters and setting that dont take a lot of description. The action is fast place and repetitious (for example almost all the same exact things happen to both sisters except for at the end) and in
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this story the characters are stereotypical (bad sister, good sister, evil mother). The plot in this story is a chronological plot and it is a person vs. person plot between the mean sister and the nice sister.

Level: Intermediate
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LibraryThing member JanaRose1
Blanche is sweet, kind and thoughtful while her sister Rose is unpleasant, mean and spiteful. Rose is favored by their mother, who expects Blanche to work hard, do all of the chores, and wait on the rest of the family. One day Blanche meets an old woman, who takes her back to her house. Rose
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follows her instructions and leaves the house with a basketful of plain eggs. On the way home she throws the eggs over her shoulders and treasures break free of the eggs. Jealous, Blanche finds the woman the next day. However, she refuses to listen to the woman and ends up being chased by wild and ferocious animals. This is a fast paced, easy to read book. It is likely to delight children while teaching them a strong moral lesson.
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LibraryThing member silly_tine
The author has given us a great folk tale, well written, wonderful illustrations, a work full of lessons and just a pure simple fun story to read. Like all good fables this one not only entertains, but teaches some very valuable lessons in life and living (something most of we adults could use a
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dose of now and again). This is a great book for a child to read on her or his own, a wonderful book to read with a child and a great book to read to an entire class. It is absolutely amazing the amount of discussion this book can create in a class room. I certainly am not going to go into the story line here, other reviewers here have done a grand job of that, but I do say the book is well worth owning and well worth using with children and/or young adults. I do wish more of our folk tales and lore could be so well presented. This particular edition is well constructed, sturdy and can last through many little hands. Highly recommend this one.
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LibraryThing member juliac83
Blanche is the younger less appreciated sister who does all the work around the house. Her mother and older sister who are bad tempered and sharp-tongued would sit around in rocking chairs fanning themselves. One day Blanche meets a curious thirsty old woman. The old woman senses her good
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spirit and takes her to her home, then trusts her with a secret. Since Blanche is good and true she is rewarded with magical eggs which give her wonderful things. In her sister’s jealousy she looks for the eggs to only find out her eggs had a surprise of their own.

Personal Reaction:
I have enjoyed this book since I was younger. I loved the story behind it and the magic of the eggs was always intriguing. I love how it shows that having a good spirit may not always be easy but is the right thing.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
This is a great book to teach manners, and to treat others how you want to be treated. You could have the kids decorate an egg, either beautiful on the outside with an ugly inside or a boring egg with a beautiful inside. This would also be a great way to introduce hidden messages. You can ask the children to point out the message behind the story and explain how hidden messages are not always good.
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LibraryThing member taramankin
This book is a great lesson of honesty and kindness. It tells the story of two sisters, Rose who is mean and the Blanche who is kind. Blanche's mother sends her to fetch water and she meets an old woman. When Blanch returns with the water, Rose dumps it and says it is too hot and her mother scolds
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her which caused her to run into the woods. Blanche meets the old woman again and follows her to her home where she has promised not to laugh at. She does several chores for the old woman and Blanche soon realizes that the old lady has magical powers. The next morning, the old woman tells Blanche to go into the chicken house and take only the eggs that say "Take me" as a present for being so good. She tells Blanche to break the eggs on her way home to get a surprise. Blanche is surprised with jewels, coins, clothes, a carriage, and a pony. When she returns home, her mother finds out where all of these things came from and sends Rose to find the old woman the following day. Rose, not as kind hearted as Blanche does meet the old woman. Because she is so mean and nasty and took the eggs that said "Don't take me," her surprise is not exactly what she expected. She got lots of frightful animals, frogs, and snakes. Before Rose and her mother returned home, Blanche was gone. Blanche left for the city where she lived a grand life while her mother and sister remained unhappy.
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LibraryThing member vanessa6
This book tells of how the way you treat others can come back to you. It's almost the same as 'What you do to others, come back to you three folds.' The art has a lot of great details, I think almost too much. Hoever, there are some neat nthings in the background you might notice like the faces on
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the eggs, or in the trees. You also notice that not only the feet have no shoes on, but they are also dirty. It's a perfect representation of that era in history.
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LibraryThing member Lourraine
The story of kindness. It showed that being kind will bring you good while being mean like Rose will bring you nothing but bad. This great story shows kids that they way you treat other is the way you will be treated


Caldecott Medal (Honor Book — 1990)
Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 1992)
Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 1992)
Georgia Children's Book Award (Winner — Picturebook — 1993)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — 1991)
Coretta Scott King Award (Honor — 1990)
Virginia Readers' Choice (Winner — 1993)
Irma Black Award (Contender — 1990)




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