If your kids like folklore stories that have beautiful illustrations, look no further. This book is extraordinary!
It draws upon Cinderella and another Creole tale to form this fairytale that both my girls are enchanted by. The words that the author has chosen are a cross between African American storytelling and a Southern dialect.
The result is a colorful book filled with wonderful poetic lines and a cadence that immediately bewitches both my girls and captures their attention.
It begins with a mother, who is a widow that has two daughters. One is very sweet (Blanche) and the other (Rose) is manipulative, lazy and “always putting on airs”. The second sister, having so much in common with the mother, is the favorite by far. Rose and her mother are so similar; they chat and laze about all day while bossing poor Blanche about.
One day, Blanche is sent out to a nearby well, where she meets a sweet old woman, who she refers to as Auntie. Auntie is thirsty and Blanche helps her by giving her water to drink. Because of her act of kindness, she returns late back from her chore and is punished by both her mother and her sibling.
Blanche runs away and meets the old woman again who offers to let her stay with her until her mother cools down. She makes her promise that if she comes with her, she must not laugh at anything that she sees. Even though she is puzzled by the unusual request, Blanche agrees to it and keeps her word, even when she see brightly rainbow colored chickens, cows with horns or rabbits dressed for a high society ball.
When it is time to leave Auntie, Blanche is allowed to take some eggs from her house but can only take plain,white eggs, which is difficult because half of the eggs are jewel encrusted and tempting. Blanche is a good girl and her actions are rewarded after she takes the white eggs and drops them behind her as instructed on her walk back home.
Many wonderful surprises crack out of the eggs. When she returns home with her new dress, jewels and horse and carriage hatched from the eggs, her family is green with envy and Rose is immediately sent out to hunt for the old woman. She finds her, but she cannot follow directions and the magic ultimately cause her mother and her many problems.
If you have a sensitive child, this book may not be the best one for you to read before bedtime. Auntie has a removable head that she combs before bedtime that Rose snatches in order to acquire some magical eggs. My girls have not had a problem with the book, but this is something to be aware of before reading this at bedtime. We found this book a few years ago and it is still one of our favorites!