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THE BIGGEST SOAP by Carole Lexa Schaefer


by Carole Lexa Schaefer & illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 2004
ISBN: 0-374-30690-7
Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Kessy loves laundry day, because he can sit and listen to the adults spin wonderful tales as a way to counteract the drudgery of their laborious task. Before the work and stories begin, Mama sends Kessy to Minda’s store to purchase “the biggest piece of soap” on the shelf. People try to lure Kessy from his mission, but he stays focused, arrives at the store without incident, and purchases the soap. His good heart and desire to help others soon whittles the soap down to a small sliver, but Mama is not upset, because Kessy weaves a wonderful tale to explain—and begins his career as a laundry-day storyteller. Dressen-McQueen’s illustrations are colorful and lush, full of Gauguin-inspired tropical patterns in pink, red, orange, and green, but the depiction of the characters lacks individuality and distinction. Still, the enchanting tale, set in the South Pacific, will encourage children’s creativity and imagination and far outweighs this problem. (Picture book. 4-8)