A lively retelling of a rather hard-hearted Creole version of a widely collected folktale. Blanche does all the work while her mother and older sister Rose put on airs and treat her cruelly. To repay a kindness, a mysterious old woman leads Blanche to her magical shack deep in the backwoods, where the chickens have rainbow colors, the two-headed cow brays like a mule, and nattily dressed rabbits dance. As Blanche leaves the next morning, the woman tells her to help herself to any eggs that say ""Take me."" Though these prove to be the plainer-looking eggs, they yield great treasures on the journey home. Seeing her younger sister's wealth, Rose sets out to duplicate it, but behaving in her usual high-handed fashion wins her a fair reward: her eggs hatch snakes, frogs, yellow jackets, and a wolf. Blanche moves to the city, leaving Rose and her mother fruitlessly searching for the old woman. Pinkney sets the story in an eerily tangled southern forest; his black characters glow with personality, each one distinct and believable, while the cow and chickens are rendered so matter-of-factly that it takes more than one look to discern their unusual features. Blanche's gentle ingenuousness may seem at odds with her ready abandonment of her family, but that traditional ending does keep the thematic waters unmuddied.