Two for Stew


Stew for two seems like such a simple request, but in this wacky restaurant romp, that order is anything but simple. A busload of tourists from Spain ate up every drop; and so a woman, her poodle, and the waiter set out on a quest for that chunky yet creamy, ever so dreamy, world-famous stew. There's nothing these two hungry customers like better -- except perhaps just one thing....

Along the way to becoming a bestselling children's book ...

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Stew for two seems like such a simple request, but in this wacky restaurant romp, that order is anything but simple. A busload of tourists from Spain ate up every drop; and so a woman, her poodle, and the waiter set out on a quest for that chunky yet creamy, ever so dreamy, world-famous stew. There's nothing these two hungry customers like better -- except perhaps just one thing....

Along the way to becoming a bestselling children's book writer and illustrator, Laura Numroff walked dogs, worked at a jazz radio station, and ran a carousel. She is best known for her popular books If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Ms. Numeroff lives in Los Angeles.

A writer and illustrator with more than a dozen children's books to his credit, Barney Saltzberg is also a composer of music for children. His original songs, such as "Where, Oh, Where's My Underwear?," show the same delightful humor that inspires Two for Stew. A native Californian, Mr. Saltzberg was born and raised in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and two children.

Because the restaurant has no more stew, and the grandmother who makes it is out for the evening, two friends find a different way to enjoy themselves.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This giddy and sometimes campy salute to stew gives new meaning to the term "dinner theater." Intent on sampling Chez Stew's specialty, a woman and her white poodle will not accept a waiter's polite refusals ("There is no more stew,/ I'm sorry to say./ We do have some noodles,/ Will that be okay?"). The customer's demands escalate into an onstage fantasy sequence in which she and her dog float on angel wings, an all-chef chorus line brandishes cooking utensils and the garon glides in with the desired dish. Finally, the waiter invites the persistent woman and her pet to hop on his motorcycle; they rush off to find his grandma, keeper of the stew recipe. (This guy better get a great tip.) Numeroff (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie) and Saltzberg (Where, Oh Where's My Underwear?) provide lilting stanzas throughout this mannered escapade, relaying it as an exchange conducted solely between the woman and waiter; curlicued, Art Deco typeface designates her voice, italicized text is his. Murdocca (Baby Wants the Moon) sets the scene in an idealized city. His precise, colorful watercolors suit the blocky urban architecture, while his people gesture in cartoony poses borrowed from Hollywood's glory days. Although the send-up of romantic comedy will probably be lost on young readers, this stew has flavor enough to sate an appetite for a good romp. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Theater lights and toe-tapping rhythm are almost a part of this lilting text made of rhyming quatrains. A young woman takes her poodle to a big-city restaurant that's famous for its "chunky, yet creamy" stew. Alas, the restaurant is out of it. The waiter tries to entice her with other mouth-watering entrees, to no avail. He finally confesses that his grandma makes the stew from an old recipe, and the customer pleads, "We just never knew./Can we go to her house/And ask for some stew?" He agrees, but before they can leave on his motorcycle, they see grandma heading for the bowling alley in her 1950's purple Cadillac convertible and take off after her. The text rollicks along with different fonts effectively representing the conversations of the young woman and the waiter. Murdocca has made this selection a feast for the eyes. The stylized watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations depict New York City streets and buildings. A chorus line of chef/angels against a city skyline backdrop promotes the colorful imagery. Two for Stew must be shared aloud. It would be great read by an older girl and boy to primary groups. This book has all the trappings of a Broadway musical.-Betty Teague, Blythe Academy of Languages, Greenville, SC
Kirkus Reviews
Numeroff (Chimps Don't Wear Glasses, 1995, etc.) and Saltzberg (This is a Great Place for a Hot Dog Stand, 1995, etc.) have concocted a rhyming quest for stew that will elicit giggles and stimulate salivary glands. Hunger for world-famous stew is why a young woman and her poodle have come into a restaurant, but it's the one thing they just can't have; it was devoured earlier by a busload of tourists from Spain. The waiter offers noodles, ham nuggets and peas, and gravy and fish, but his two diners demand stew. As the stew is the creation of the waiter's grandmother, the trio head over to her house, but Grandma is heading out for bowling night. That cold fact puts an end to dreams of stew and changes the nature of their pursuit.

The illustrations bop along in sync with the light verse and occasionally expand into full-blown musical sets, complete with a chorus line of dancing chefs. The rhymes and Big Apple setting recall Debra and Sal Barraccas's The Adventures of Taxi Dog (1990), with an airier touch. It's satisfying fare, all except for the microwave ending: Those ravenous would-be diners ignore their hunger pangs to go bowling.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689829444
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.22 (w) x 7.94 (h) x 0.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Numeroff
Any kid who's dealt with an exasperated adult is sure to appreciate Laura Joffe Numeroff's If You Give a... series, where children take on semi-parental roles with unexpected, demanding animal guests. Numeroff is an expert at silly situations, catchy verses and stories that absorb and engage.


If you give a series-prone author an inch, she'll take a mile -- and fortunately for fans of Laura Numeroff's books, she took her concept and is still running with it. Her aphoristic animal stories show what happens when you give a little something ... and get a big list of follow-up requests.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and its companion titles have become favorites not only of parents, but of teachers who like the books' visual elements and domino-effect storylines. Numeroff's other popular titles, What Mommies Do Best/What Daddies Do Best and What Grandpas Do Best/What Grandmas Do Best, are loving paeans to activities shared with adults.

A would-be fashion designer who grew up in Brooklyn and now lives in California with a mini-menagerie of pets, Numeroff's stock in trade is her "silly imagination" and her love of animals. Her versatility as a storyteller has been enhanced by the fact that she works with different illustrators, though it also means that all Numeroff titles may not suit the same reader. Her anthropomorphic stories often capitalize on fantasy, but she also has a knack for rhyme, evident in particular in her books Dogs Don't Wear Sneakers and Chimps Don't Wear Glasses.

Numeroff doesn't seem to run out of ideas for ridiculous situations to put people and animals in, nor does she stop celebrating what's special about family relationships. This is what will keep readers coming back to her titles, series-oriented or not.

Good To Know

Numeroff says her parents instilled a love of science and stamp collecting in her as a child, and she has grown into a collector as an adult. Among her collections: stuffed animals, old photographs, autographed children's books, and Halloween masks.

As a teenager, Numeroff was inspired by her sister to become a fashion designer, leading to her attendance at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn for college. "Unfortunately," she says, "I hated everything about the fashion department and I couldn't sew to save my life!" Instead, she took a class on writing and illustrating books for children. Her first effort, about the tallest girl in the third grade, was sold before Numeroff graduated. (Amy for Short is now out of print.)

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    1. Also Known As:
      Laura Joffe Numeroff
    2. Hometown:
      Brentwood, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 14, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      B.F.A. with honors, Pratt Institute, 1975; attended Parsons College, 1975
    2. Website:

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