cover image Burgoo Stew

Burgoo Stew

Susan Patron. Orchard Books (NY), $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05916-6

Both collaborators make impressive debuts in this jaunty variation on the Stone Soup tale. ``A crowd of five rowdy bad boys'' search out old Billy Que on the edge of town, hollering ``You give us to eat!'' Not at all intimidated by this pugnacious band, the quick-thinking, slow-talking fellow announces he will make his famous Burgoo Stew. Billy Que surreptitiously throws into the pot a secret ingredient--which he weighs down with a stone--and instructs each boy to run home to his mama, to ``ask her kindly'' for an onion, a turnip, a carrot, a potato or a hunk of meat. After filling up on stew--and asking politely for seconds--the five are still ``cranky mad'' and dirty, ``but they were never, ever quite so bad or quite so hungry again.'' Shenon's mirthful ink-and-watercolor pictures illustrate this superbly narrated story--an ideal read-aloud. Ages 3-6. (Aug.)