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Pumpkin Soup
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Pumpkin Soup

4.5 15
by Helen Cooper

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Housemates Squirrel, Cat and Duck team up for activities . . . until Duck wants to be Head Cook and stir the soup. The trio spats and Duck waddles off in a huff . . . Coziness returns when they . . . learn to share . . . Readers will linger over each page, savoring the delicious illustrations.” —Starred, School Library Journal
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.
Children's Literature
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—Three friends—a squirrel, a cat, and a duck—live happily together in the forest. They make the most delicious pumpkin soup in the world, and each has a specific job in preparing and cooking the soup. Cat slices the pumpkin, Squirrel stirs in the water, and Duck tips in just the right amount of salt. But what happens when Duck decides it would be fun to change jobs? Kathleen McInerney reads Helen Cooper's warm and expressive text (Farrar, Straus, 1999), giving each character a unique voice. No page turn signals are included. Occasional background music and sound effects enhance the production. This would make a good listening center and fit in nicely with autumn storytelling.—Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA
Kirkus Reviews
Cooper (The Boy Who Wouldn't Go to Bed, 1997, etc.) tries for a shaggy-dog story, whose details are less compelling than page after page of charmingly snug illustrations. Deep in the forest, in their squash-like abode, live three little creatures: a cat, a squirrel, and a duck. They are a harmonious trio, especially when they concoct their pumpkin soup. Cat dices the pumpkin, Squirrel stirs in the water, and Duck adds the all-important pipkin of salt. Then Duck decides to take over Squirrel's responsibilities. Squirrel tells him to take a hike, which the disgruntled Duck does. Without his touch with the salt, however, the soup is a disaster, and Cat and Squirrel just plain miss Duck. They set out to find him, fret, fuss, worry that he's been hurt, or worse, found new friends. When they don't find him, they return home crestfallen, where Duck is waiting. Both his earlier desertion and return fall woefully flat, but readers will be smitten with Cooper's smart and utterly disarming artwork. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Square Fish
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.20(d)
AD310L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Helen Cooper was born in London in 1963. When she was two, she moved to a country town in Cumbria, in the north of England, where people collected their milk in cans from the farm, and fairies seemed to lurk in the wildflowers outside. It rained a lot and there weren't enough kids to play with, but there were compensations: beautiful countryside, horses, and lots of time to write stories, draw pictures, play the piano, and read. When she grew up, Helen trained as a music teacher because that seemed sensible. Then she played in a band, and got a day job painting posh china animals to make ends meet. In the evenings, she taught herself to illustrate.

Her first book was published in 1987, and since then she has written and illustrated many books for children, including The Bear Under the Stairs, Dog Biscuit, A Pipkin of Pepper, and Delicious! Helen lives with her husband, Ted Dewan, who also writes and illustrates books. They live in Oxford, England, with their daughter, Pandora.

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Pumpkin Soup (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Tiffany_Hanson More than 1 year ago
My 4 year old daughter just loves this book and she makes me read it just about every night since we got it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was purchased as a gift for a 4 year old boy who asked his parents to read it to him more than once. It was a good buy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jerryt175 More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend this book for children 3-5, cute story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recommend reading this story to young children. This book fostures the imagination. It is a great book to discuss getting along with others. Also, the characters are warm and caring. The illustrations are vivid.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this for my 2 year old and he absolutly loves it! It is a very cute book and it keeps my son's attention which is very difficult to do at times. I still have to read this to him ever night before he goes to bed even a month after halloween.
Cheryl_Abby More than 1 year ago
Reminds me of Stone Soup, from when was a child. I really like the illustrations, they go good with the story. The story keeps my daughter involved into reading.
Nickolet More than 1 year ago
Beautifully illustrated and the story had a wonderful & interesting plot that kept my son's attention. This book will be a part of our Fall traditions for years to come!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Our family loves this book. We read it lots before bed and it reminds us everyone deserves a chance to try new things, we must share what's important to us with those who are important to us and it instills empathy with young readers who worry if Duck will ever come home! Our 2 year old is always a bit 'scared' when Squirrel and Cat worry Duck will encounter Wolves, Fox, Bear or Witches! Our five year old always delights in knowing Duck will be messy in comparison to Squirrel in stirring the soup. Everyone finds it interesting when Squirrel, Cat and Duck are fighting again even after what they have been through. Lovely book, highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It doesn't get any better than this: Simply amazing artwork for a beautifully told story about how hard it is to take turns and how love and friendship will prevail. And the perfect finish of this literary feast is a recipe for pumpkin soup, easy enough to prepare with your little ones. 'Pumpkin Soup' is the best you ever tasted. Enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My two four year olds love this book. We have read it over and over. It's the kind of book that even grown-ups enjoy. A lesson about sharing combined with beautiful illustrations and subtle humor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great story about friendship, getting along with others and sharing. It tells the tale with a sense of humor and feelings that everyone will relate to. The illustrations are beautiful.