The winter winds are blowing cold now, so I wasn’t surprised to discover that January is National Soup Month in the U.S.! For its nutritional value and ability to keep us warm, soup makes the perfect chilly winter evening dinner, and I personally love when I can offer my children books that relate to our everyday lives. Melissa Iwai’s recent picture book Soup Day brings together educational concepts, real life experiences and adorable illustrations into the perfect winter evening storybook.
With the snow swirling all around them, a daughter and mother head to the market to purchase the supplies for soup day, adding fresh produce to their basket in easily countable groups, from “one bunch of crispy green celery” to “six big white mushrooms.” When they return home, preparing the vegetables is a job that mother and daughter can do together, and the natural shapes formed by the chopped veggies are remarked upon. While the soup simmers, they spend their time engaged in different loving interactions, with mom being an active playmate. After all the toys are cleaned up, the girl’s father returns home just in time to share the delicious soup. Bringing the experience from page to real life, the last page of the book includes a recipe for the very soup prepared in the story.
Personally, I love that this book involves color, shape and counting concepts in a natural manner, allowing for young children to count the objects along with the story but not presenting it in an overly didactic fashion. The text is short, but the story definitely comes to life through the bright illustrations and the experiences that all children can relate to. There’s a calm and serene feel to the story, similar to what one feels while relaxing at home amidst the savory smells of a soup cooking on the stove. My own children adore Soup Day (even as they’re still somewhat reluctant soup eaters themselves), and it has been an often requested read aloud this winter in our home! To see some pages of the book for yourself, head over to Melissa Iwai’s author website.
We’re happy to be able to offer a copy of Soup Day to one of our readers! Just leave a comment here to be entered (U.S. residents only, please). For one additional giveaway entry, you may subscribe to Melissa Iwai’s food blog The Hungry Artist– leave a second comment here telling us that you’ve done so.
We’ll announce the winner on January 31st, here in the weekly 5 Minutes for Books column.
5 Minutes for Books’ contributor Dawn‘s own cooking skills leave something to be desired, but she’s happy to be able to make one delicious pot of chicken soup all on her own! She blogs at my thoughts exactly.