Ronna Mandel reviews SOUP FOR ONE by Ethan Long.

Perfect for preschoolers, Soup For One  ($14.95, Running Press Kids, ages 3 and up) is a treat to read. The start of school means opportunities to learn, but also to have fun and this book offers just the right amount of both. Long has created an engaging story that is part counting book and part whimsical mystery.  Children can count how many hungry flies decide to descend upon a hot bowl of soup, pre-empting an eager spider from diving in. “Tee hee hee! Some soup for me!” announces the first fly in brightly-colored and totally appealing artwork that appears to be a combination of several mediums.

Can your youngster spot the hiding spider? What kind of face is the second fly making? There are so many ways to delight your child as you make a game and count to ten.  What colors are the flies? Can you remember which fly flew in third? Is someone sipping some soup and if so, how?  Parents can pose other questions such as “How do you think the first fly is feeling after so many other flies have invaded the soup?” to discuss different feelings displayed on every page.

As parents read page after page, curious kids may begin to wonder what happened to the chef or whether the patient spider will ever get a chance to enjoy the soup, and that’s precisely why this picture book works on so many levels. 

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