NAIL SOUP by Eric Maddern


by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8


A Scandinavian variant of the familiar Stone Soup retold by Welsh storyteller Maddern. Of all the folktale archetypes that promote the value of collective collaboration, few are more serviceable than the tale of a hungry traveler who has nothing to put into his kettle of boiling water but, in this case, a common nail. He persuades others to contribute what they have in the way of food and seasoning until he has a savory soup to share. In this version, the traveler stops at the cottage of a thickset, plainspoken woman who he convinces first to let him sleep on the floor, even though her husband is away, and then to add potatoes, milk, barley and herbs to his pot. Finally she produces linens, flowers, wine and a spare bed. This concludes with a grace note regarding the heart-softening properties of shared food and stories. While the tale is well-known, Hess’s paintings, with their surrealistic settings, canted perspectives, mysteriously exotic traveler and softly transformed housewife, lend unexpected freshness. (Picture book/folklore. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-84507-479-1
Page count: 28pp
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2007


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