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Delicious!: A Pumpkin Soup Story    by Helen Cooper order for
by Helen Cooper
Order:  USA  Can
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

We own all of the Helen Cooper Pumpkin Soup stories, and each concoction is more delightful than the next. In fact, I find it amazing how many storylines Cooper can create that involve pumpkin soup.

The familiar characters, Duck, Squirrel and Cat, are up to their usual tricks. The three housemates make pumpkin soup virtually every night, with each animal having a specific role in the soup making process. Tonight, however, there is not a pumpkin to be found in the pumpkin patch. After dusting off an old recipe book, the three decide (strangely without conflict) to make fish soup.

After catching trout and minnow (and a cold), the three make fish soup, but Duck says yuck and won't even try it. They try again with mushroom and beet soup, but with the same results. Finally, savvy Cat deceives Duck by adding ingredients that turn the soup pumpkin colored. Duck tries it, and declares that it is NOT pumpkin soup, but it is the best soup ever.

Cooper's lines are perfect for a read-aloud, as the language is contagiously fun:

'Deep in the woods it was lunchtime,
Should have been cooking time,
Down at the old white cabin.

But out in the garden there was rustling,
And scuffling,
A bit of kerfuffling.
The sound of a Duck
And a Squirrel
And a Cat,

Looking for a pumpkin in the pumpkin patch.

Cooper has given these lovable creatures distinct personalities that are reflected in the colorful and whimsical illustrations, and these personalities are consistent throughout each of the stories. Parents of finicky eaters will get a kick out of this story, and the picky eaters may recognize themselves too. A recipe for pink soup highlights the book jacket.

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