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Pumpkin Soup
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About the Author

Helen Cooper has written and illustrated many books for children, including The Bear Under the Stairs, Delicious! and Pumpkin Soup, winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and short-listed for the Kurt Maschler Award. 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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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 Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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 himÄto 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 welcomeÄuntil 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.

"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

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