From the Publisher
By the Kate Greenaway Medalist Deep in the woods in an old white cabin, three friends make their pumpkin soup the same way every day. The Cat slices up the pumpkin, the Squirrel stirs in the water, and the Duck tips in just enough salt. But one day the Duck wants to stir instead, and then there is a horrible squabble, and he leaves the cabin in a huff. It isn’t long before the Cat and the Squirrel start to worry about him and begin a search for their friend. Rendered in pictures richly evoking autumn, Helen Cooper’s delightful story will resonate for an child who has known the difficulties that come with friendship. Included at the end is a recipe for delicious pumpkin soup.
This enchanting story explores the ups and downs of close-knit camaraderie. Beginning with a peek through a window where Cat, Squirrel and Duck are making music together, Cooper (The Boy Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed) invites youngsters into their cozy pumpkin-shaped home. There’s a rhythm to their lives: each has his own instrument to play and his own duties when it comes to cooking their famous pumpkin soup (‘the best you ever tasted’). But one day, Duck decides to be the stirrer instead of the salt pourer, and an all-out battle ensues. Here the warm golden glow that has permeated their dwelling turns an angry orange-red with paws, wings and ‘@#$!’s flying. After Duck waddles off in a huff, the remaining pair heads out to hunt for him–to no avail. In a charming time-lapse sequence, vignettes of Cat and Squirrel moping on the steps of their house form an arc along the side of a spread (‘So they waited…/ All that long afternoon…’). Mimicking grade-schoolers everywhere, Cat and Squirrel next decide to carry on with the cooking, adopting a we’ll-show-him attitude. Of course the soup is too salty and the repentant pals begin to imagine scary scenarios of where Duck might be. But Duck does return, to a warm welcome–until he suggests a turn on Cat’s bagpipes. Thanks to Cooper’s uncanny ability to capture the dynamics of friendship, children will be able to laugh at this trio (and themselves) and recognize that true friendship can weather most any storm. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Pumpkins ripen for Halloween, but this tale of good friends is fun for anytime. Cat, Squirrel and Duck live together happily and cook their Pumpkin Soup, ‘the best you ever tasted,’ until one day Duck tries to change the order of jobs. He packs up and leaves after an unpleasant argument. Cat and Squirrel, worried about him and the bad feelings, search for him in vain. When they find him waiting for them at home, they decide to let him do more as they all work together happily again, at least for a while. A rather simple story is transformed into a heroic saga by the artist’s dramatic vision. We are introduced to the characters on the jacket/cover as they cooperatively share a big bowl of soup. Multiple vignettes and full pages depict the realistic, almost sculpturally rounded friends interacting, searching, despairing, all resulting from Duck’s desire for greater respect. The final scenes of frantic soup making, and bagpipe celebrating leave the reader anticipating more friendly squabbles in the future. The final page gives the recipe so we can make our own Pumpkin Soup.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2 Cooper serves up a well-rounded tale told with storyteller’s cadences. Pudgy housemates Squirrel, Cat, and Duck team up for activities including quilt making and music concerts, until Duck wants to be Head Cook and stir the soup. The trio spats and Duck waddles off in a huff. As the remaining pair search pumpkin patch and dark forest for their pal, they rethink their position. Coziness returns when they find Duck back home and learn to share at least cooking roles. Readers will linger over each page, savoring the delicious illustrations. Rich autumn colors and enchanting details on