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Reviewed by Lois J Wickstrom for Readers' Favorite
Salty Strong: The “Whole” Cajun Story, written by Chris Whitson and illustrated by Stephen Adams, is a poetic mystical adventure about salt and pepper, told in a mix of English and Cajun. Salty is a boy made of salt, who lives in a salt dome until some salt miners grind him up and put him into a salt shaker, and sell him to a restaurant. His friend Pep is a pepper girl who meets a similar fate. But that is not the end of the story. These feisty characters have soul and spirit and spice. This is only the beginning of their adventure. The pair of them wind up in a restaurant where they turn bland food into a treat that brings customers back for more. Then they almost get used up. But, that’s not the end either. Characters with their kind and energetic spirits get what they deserve – a happy ending - and readers are encouraged to add spice to their lives.
Folk tales need feisty protagonists. Salty and Pep join the ranks of other heroes who break rules in order to improve lives. Think about Huck Finn and Jim traveling down the Mississippi River. Or Hansel and Gretel, fooling the witch. Salty and Pep are an adventurous pair who maintain their spirits even after they are ground up and poured into jars and sold to a restaurant. In Salty Strong, writer Chris Whitson uses poetic language and silly puns mixed with Cajun slang to bring these spices to life. The sweet art picks up the mood and spirit of adventure while lending just the right sense of mystery to this adventure. Highly recommended for folk tale lovers from all regions.