Soup with a Story


by Melissa Perry
Program Coordinator
Family Reading Partnership

Though not yet officially winter, the cold has set in and my favorite part of the culinary year is finally here- soup season. There are few things more satisfying than a bowl of steaming soup on a nippy day, warming us body, mind, and spirit. For the ultimate cold day, soup-eating experience with young children, I recommend recreating soup recipes that can be found within favorite children’s books.

There are several engaging stories that weave the step-by-step process of creating a wonderful soup with a lovely story. There are also others that feature soup as a significant aspect of the story and of which you can easily find recipes to recreate online or in a favorite cookbook. Either way, you’re sure to be in the mood for soup by the time you’ve finished reading the book!

To turn a few minutes of reading together into an afternoon of fun, why not make the soup from the book? Making soup is an art that has it’s own natural rhythm. The process can be just as comforting as the end result and both are a wonderful experience to share. Are you new to making soup? No worries! Soup is an art, but a very forgiving one, which can easily be mastered and customized to fit your own tastes.

  • Choose a soup-themed book

Before delving into the book with your child, take a moment to read it over             yourself first, particularly the recipe. Take note of the ingredients, materials, and             steps involved.

  • Read the book together

Read through the book as you normally would and then go back and talk about             the process of making the soup. What ingredients were used? What did the             characters in the book do first? What did they do next?

  • Look over the recipe together

Read the recipe together and relate the materials and ingredients needed to those             that were used in the book. If you have the ingredients on hand, you can begin             prepping them. If not, work together with your child to write a shopping list,  again relating back to the pictures of the book.

  • Make soup!

Once your ingredients are prepped, show your child the step-by-step instructions             of putting together your soup. If your child is old enough, you can talk about the             importance of following the steps in order and making sure you don’t leave any             steps out.

  • Use your senses

Talk about how the ingredients look, taste, feel, and smell before they are put into             the soup and once they are cooking, and again when the soup is done.

  • Go back to the book

Refer back to the book often, pointing out how the characters completed specific             steps and what their soup looked like at different points of the cooking process.             After enjoying your soup, re-read the book together. Ask your child about what he or she liked and didn’t like about the process and the soup itself. Was his or her experience similar to that of the characters of the book? What would he or she do differently next time?

Soup books with recipes:
Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan
Soup Day by Melissa Iwai
Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
The Ugly Vegetables by Grace Lin
Pretend Soup Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

Books that feature soup:
Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert
The Cat Who Liked Potato Soup by Terry Farish
Everybody Serves Soup by Norah Dooley

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