Wednesday, August 08, 2007

review: Growing Vegetable Soup

Growing Vegetable Soup written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert.
Harcourt Brace, 1987 (0-15-232575-1); 2004 (978-0-15-206176-0) $10.95

Although I've always enjoyed this book and it's companion, Planting a Rainbow, I don't think I ever fully appreciated it in its small board book edition. Now as a lap-size board book, it is bolder, brighter and more beautiful than ever.

This story offers basic information on gardening with a lovely touch of imagination. The unseen narrator describes the whole process of how he and his dad "grow vegetable soup," starting with their tools, going on to planting the seeds and sprouts, and ending with picking or digging up the vegetables and cooking them. The simple, direct text is accompanied by labelled illustrations of everything that's used, from the soil to the soup bowl. Ehlert's signature collage illustrations make each item colorful and distinctive, and give the little seedlings and growing plants their full measure of charm. If you've only seen the small board book edition, do yourself a favor and check out this edition, or the original picture book. (2-6)

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