Next week on September 25th, Dulemba releases her picture book titled Soap, Soap, Soap / Jabón, Jabón, Jabón. I'm the first stop on her Blog Tour. Elizabeth, thanks for introducing me to this book and your blog!
Those familiar with Appalachian folktales will recognize the storyline of "Soap, Soap, Soap." The Jack Tales story has been retold many times and many versions exist. In Dulemba's updated adaption available in a bilingual format, a boy named Hugo walks to the local grocery store to buy soap for his mother. He takes the long route to the store and travels across a playground, down a sidewalk and by a ditch near his schoolyard. He runs into a number of obstacles along the way, gets mud all over his body and forgets the reason for his journey--the soap, soap, soap! The bilingual edition features Spanish expressions like el dinero, huevos, and ¡Ay caramba! effortlessly sprinkled into the English narrative. A vocabulary page at the end of the book provides an overview of all Spanish terms used.
"Now Hugo was muddy and stinky too, but he still had to go to el mercado. To help him remember what he needed to buy, Hugo kept repeating, 'Soap! Soap! Soap! ~ ¡Jabón, jabón, jabón!'" - Soap, Soap, Soap / Jabón, Jabón, Jabón by Elizabeth O. Dulemba
If a muddy romp is your idea of good, clean, picture book fun, you'll enjoy reading Soap, Soap, Soap / Jabón, Jabón, Jabón. The book is available in two different versions: bilingual and all-English. Although we received a galley of the all-English version, I actually prefer the bilingual book mainly because schools and libraries have a need for eye-pleasing bilingual picture books, especially folklore tales. Dulemba's bright illustrations reflect the light, playful tone of the text. My daughter loved the soap graphic underneath each page number and also liked the hilarious picture of a grocer pinching his nose to avoid smelling the stinky Hugo. She really liked tracing the dotted path Hugo takes on his journey to the grocery store, though we did notice the illustration is a bit different from the actual story sequence. Part of the fun of telling the original "Soap" tale is that the boy mindlessly repeats phrases over and over, trying to remember his goal. The repetition is somewhat missing in Dulemba's version, though it is implied. It's wonderful that Dulemba has reintroduced a lesser known folktale to the picture book audience.
Because I'd never heard of the "Soap" folktale until reading this version of the story, I asked Elizabeth when she first heard the Appalachian tale. Here's her reply:
Besides the multicultural element of the book there's a lesson to be learned in this time-tested tale of forgetfulness and mud: Even though you may get side-tracked on your journey, don't forget where you are headed or what you started out to accomplish. That's wise advice for everyone to live by -- children, adults, new graduates, and yes, even bloggers.
Soap, Soap, Soap / Jabón, Jabón, Jabón by Elizabeth O. Dulemba. Raven Tree Press; (September 2009); 32 pages; Bilingual Edition: ISBN 9781934960622 hardcover; ISBN 9781934960639 paperback - English Edition: ISBN 9781934960646 hardcover; 9781934960653 paperback
Book Source: Galley provided for free by Raven Tree Press (Preproduction copy - Quotations should be checked against the finished book)
My daughter had a good time coloring the duck from Dulemba's story. Print your own picture at the Soap, Soap, Soap activity page!
Elizabeth O. Dulemba - Author Website
Index of Appalachian Folktales - "Soap! Soap! Soap!"
View the Soap, Soap, Soap / Jabón, Jabón, Jabón book trailer on YouTube: