From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—Cat, Duck, and Squirrel are back in this companion to Pumpkin Sou
p (1999) and A Pipkin of Pepper
(2005, both Farrar). Disaster has struck the pumpkin patch—no ripe pumpkins for the animals' favorite dish. The friends decide to make something new to eat, but Duck is unwilling to try either fish soup, mushroom soup, or beet soup (especially offensive because it is pink). Cat tries to trick Duck by mixing a combination of veggies and ingredients that result in a broth that is the exact color of pumpkin soup. After a tentative sip, Duck declares it "Delicious!" and order is restored in the old white cabin. The story has universal appeal—everyone either knows, or is, a fussy eater. Readers will empathize with Duck, who is obstinate without being intolerable, and cheer for Cat and Squirrel as their patience and accommodation lead to eventual success. The illustrations are warm and rustic, and the layout does an excellent job of mixing full-page portraits and white space. A recipe for "Pink Soup" is included. This beautiful book is a must-have.—Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA
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Supper time, that universal family minefield, forms the core of Cooper's third picture book featuring Cat, Squirrel, and todderlike Duck, characters originated in her Greenaway Medalwinning Pumpkin Soup (1999). In softly brushed paintings of a cozy, whimsical woodland household, parental stand-ins Cat and Squirrel lovingly create substitutes for Duck's out-of-season favorite, pumpkin soup. Kerfuffles, hullaballoos, and other creatively termed uproars ensue as Duck refuses each offering, until a flurry of kitchen creativity begets a soup that meets the persnickety bird's approval. More accurate, perhaps, than ideal, the suggestion that whiny, sulky stubbornness gets results is somewhat balanced by a clever secondary narrative, in which beetle observers scathingly comment on Duck's misdeeds ("What a way to behave!"). Still, this lively read-aloud may be best appreciated by families beyond the picky-eater phase, whose reformed members can giggle as they recollect their own tableside mutinies. A recipe for Pink Soup (made from beets) appears on an extrawide interior jacket flap. Mattson, Jennifer