Friday, November 13, 2020

Review: Salty Strong: The Whole Cajun Story by Chris Whitson

by Chris Whitson
Archway Publishers
Picture Book
38 pages

Salty is a divine Cajun boy created from the salt of the earth. While dwelling deep in the caverns of the ancient salt domes in the swamps of Louisiana, he enjoys cooking and caring for all his critters. But one day when burly salt miners arrive, Salty's ordinary world suddenly changes forever.

After the salt miners accidentally crush Salty into a witty, gritty pile of granules and hastily pour him into a saltshaker, his strong spirit is somehow spared. As he embarks on an adventurous and uplifting journey to become whole again, Salty travels to the lively French Quarter Market. When he is purchased by a cranky chef, Salty must now come up with creative ways to stay strong in the shaker while he endures his ordeal.

In this entertaining story, after a mystical Cajun boy created from salt is accidentally crushed and poured into a saltshaker, he must begin a journey to become whole again.


With more than a dash of uniqueness, this tale delights with bright and bold illustrations and a boy, who learns a lot about friendship and himself.

Salty isn't a usual boy. He's a divine, Cajun boy, created from salt, and has a heart of gold. He has friends and enjoys life until he's accidentally caught in the salt mines, ground up, and finds himself at a restaurant with a chef, who isn't exactly a joy to be around. Now, Salty has to find a way to get himself back together or survive his new life in a salt shaker.

Salty is definitely not an average character. And while this tale might sound more than a bit strange, it works. Wonderfully. Salty is easy to connect to and root for as he goes through a very original adventure. I'll admit, I was a bit concerned about the idea of him being ground up into pieces... sounds harsh...but even this goes smoothly, packing the needed emotions without going anywhere overboard for the intended age group. And as he meets Pep...that's simply friendship pure.

The illustrations in this one are alone worth the time to flip through. They are bright and bold and hold enough to keep the reader wanting to go back and explore. 

The story might be strange, but it is quite cute. I was a bit sad that the chef in the restaurant never learned his lesson, but Salty did learn a lot. It's about not giving up on hope, withstanding trials, learning to develop new friendships, and discovering that giving of ones self should never be underestimated. The ending might not be what one expects, but it matches the rest of the tale nicely. I can really recommend this one and not only to Louisiana and Cajun fans.

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