Fandango Stew by David Davis, illustrated by Ben Galbraith
A wild west version of Stone Soup, this book will have you singing the praises of Fandago Stew too. Luis and his grandfather, Slim, come to the town of Skinflint with their stomachs already rumbling with hunger. But they also have a plan, Fandango Stew. Unfortunately, the local sheriff is not happy to have them in town and tries to run them out. But he agrees that Luis and Slim can boil water and throw in their bean. Slim and Luis break into song “Chili’s good, so is barbecue, but nothing’s finer than Fandango Stew!” One-by-one the people of Skinflint begin to contribute, shamed into it when Slim and Luis talk about the Fandango Stew they made in other towns and the generosity shown there. Well, Skinflint may be frugal, but no one calls them stingy! As each new component is added, Slim and Luis reprise their song, adding new harmony parts. In the end, you know the story of delicious stew created by a community but this time it has some western seasoning added too.
Davis has created a fun and stylized version of the traditional tale. The incorporation of the western setting is well developed and adds an interesting dimension to the story. As the story and the stew develops, the inclusion of the entire community and their pride and willingness to turn it into a party make for a jubilant read. The use of the song after each addition to the stew adds a strong structure to the book as well.
Galbraith’s illustrations are filled with texture and color. Everything from the ropes to the boards of the houses to the corrugated roofs add to the rich feel. As the book progresses, the illustrations move from a sepia toned sparse color to richer colors.
A rootin’ tootin’ good recipe for a book! Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from library copy.
Also reviewed by BooksForKidsBlog.