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Pumpkin Soup
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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.

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 large spreads and spot illustrations embellish characterizations and setting. Energetic language with fresh images keeps the story bouncing along. Some may be troubled by the lack of closure on Duck's whereabouts during his absence, but the final comic page makes for a satisfying ending. The grand finale, of course, is a recipe for pumpkin soup. Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA 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"
"Beginning with a peek through a window where Cat, Squirrel and Duck are making music together, Cooper invites youngsters into their cozy pumpkin-shaped home ... 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."

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