A song made into a picture book rings the dinner bell for community togetherness.
Without musical accompaniment, Workman’s lyrics seem a bit forced in their rhythm, rhyme, and repetition, but Eckwall’s illustrations help transform them into a story about a child and a woman making and sharing soup. They are both white and appear to be a grandmother and her grandchild, though this is nowhere specified in the text. The community that gathers with them in their home for soup on a wintry day is a diverse one, as people with various skin tones, hair textures, and attire come to sit at the table. One child wearing a feathered cape arrives astride a wolf and accompanied by a veritable peaceable kingdom of forest animals. This characterization tips the visual narrative into the realm of fantasy, which, while playful, risks undermining the real-world validity of the central themes of community and food-sharing. On the other hand, there is much to appreciate about the watercolors from debut illustrator Eckwall, which include a close-up, gorgeous spread of soup ingredients that looks like something out of Cook’s Illustrated as well as cozy interior scenes of people gathered together juxtaposed with out-of-doors settings of their journeys to the house.
Cozy. (Picture book. 3-6)