Cactus Soup is a a Mexican twist on an old tale known by many as Stone Soup. As the story begins, a troop of soldiers come riding toward the town of San Miguel. But the people of town weren’t at all happy to learn of their arrival. They then plot to hide their food and tell the soldiers they’ve nothing to give them in hopes that this would encourage the soldiers not to stay. It’s quite interesting to learn how and where all the food is hidden out of sight from the strangers. And to take things even further, the townspeople tore & ripped their clothes as well as smeared mud all over their faces to appear like poor hungry people.
Ah, but the Capitán in this story is not at all tricked! He then asks for a cactus thorn to make cactus soup. The townspeople are a bit more than willing to add to the soup by the charm of the stranger. Things gathered from those hiding places included chiles, salt, onions, garlic, beans, carrots, tomatoes, & stewing hens. His wit and the curiousness of the townspeople resulted in a fiesta that was enjoyed by everyone. Oh yes, more than just the Cactus Soup was enjoyed by everyone but tamales, sweet potatoes, and roasting pigs as well!
My children age 2 1/2 and 5 years old have heard other renditions of this story but equally loved this one too. I really loved the Mexican version because it’s given me an opportunity to teach my children about other cultures. My daughter was quite curious about the attire as well as the food that was included into the cactus soup.
The watercolored and ink illustrations fit the story perfectly and capture the time and the place in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution quite well. Though not mentioned in the story, readers can learn a little bit of history in the Author’s note in the back of the book. There’s also a glossary that explains all of the Spanish words used but there’s not a pronunciation guide which would have been helpful.
There’s obviously a strong message behind this story. The message basically teaches not to be greedy with what you have and obviously the outcome of giving resulted in a feast enjoyed by all. I’m sure the townspeople felt pretty silly hiding all their food and going to the extremes of ripping their own clothes and smearing mud upon their faces shortly thereafter.
Overall my entire family quite enjoyed this book and we’ll be reading it again. Just be warned that you shouldn’t read it on an empty stomach and you may be wanting to throw together your own Cactus soup shortly thereafter.
Interested in Purchasing? Cactus Soup is available on Amazon.com in e-book, hardcover, & paperback format.
Disclaimer: I was sent the above mentioned product to review. This review is 100% my opinion and has not been edited or reviewed by anyone. I was not compensated in any other way for this product review.