Cooper, Helen. Pumpkin Soup – Book Review

pumpkin

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Cat, Squirrel, and Duck live together in an old white cabin beside a pumpkin patch. Cat plays the bagpipes. Squirrel plays the banjo. Duck sings.

Together they make pumpkin soup and are the best of friends, until the duck decides he wants to be the Head Cook. An argument ensues and Duck leaves. As the day drags on Cat and Squirrel worry about their friend and all the dangers he might be encountering. Futilely, they search everywhere for Duck. They decide that Duck has probably found some better friends. Upon returning home, they are delighted to find Duck has returned. They allow him to stir the soup, even though he makes an incredible mess.

Everyone is happy and calm until, Duck says, “I think I’ll play the bagpipes now.”

Children will relate well to this story. Conflict often comes when a friend decides to break free of his usual routine. The lesson that friendship is more important than always doing things the same way, is a good one. Whether the friends have learned from this experience, or not, will be tested by their response to Duck’s request to try the bagpipes.

The pictures are delightful, combining realistic but expressive animals with enchanting environments that glow with gentle color. The characters seem sweet and cuddly, like children themselves. Helen Cooper gives us a peek into the imaginations of Cat and Squirrel with a delightful illustration of Duck selling his fabulous soup to a long line of forest animals.

The combination of humour and emotion are balanced perfectly. This little book is sure to be enjoyed by children and parents alike.

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Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages

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