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FOX TALE SOUP by Tony Bonning


by Tony Bonning & illustrated by Sally Hobson

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-84900-1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The stingy animals won’t spare any food for a hungry fox, so he boils a pot of water, adds a stone, and pronounces his soup “not quite right.” The puzzled and curious animals fetch each item suggested by the fox to improve the soup. When it’s finally just right, they all share it, amazed at the delicious results. The familiar folktale is retold with simplicity and humor. The fox is a creative chef who needs additional ingredients to perfect his recipe; these additions are not just thrown willy-nilly into the pot. There’s “a touch of salt and pepper,” a “sprinkling of corn,” a “taste” of chopped turnip, and a “hint” of chopped carrot. The soup is sniffed and sipped at each stage until the animals and the readers are licking their lips over the mouth-watering concoction. “And all from a stone!” Hobson’s vibrant illustrations are delightfully eccentric: in the “wide-angle” scenes, the farmhouse and the animals could easily slide down the hill; the hens carry the corn kernels in a demented dash; all of the dimwitted animals have slightly goofy expressions. What fun! Only the punny title hits a wrong note. Since it was published in England as Stone Soup, why the change? No matter, young readers will eat this one up. (Picture book. 4-8)