Posted on February 20th, 2014 by pajamapress
“It’s soup day at a Kenyan schoolhouse. While the teachers stir the broth, the children gather vegetables from the community garden. All except for one. Little Kioni is looking for her missing herd of goats, only to discover that they have followed her to school and are now wreaking havoc in the garden. A frustrated Kioni announces, ‘These pesky goats make me so mad… I’d like to put them in the soup.’ This statement turns out to be a ‘eureka’ moment in that the wayward goats do make a contribution to the soup… with their milk!
Alma Fullerton has incorporated the perfect ingredients to create an engaging and charming picture book. With its conversational tone, including a dash of questions and exclamations, Community Soup makes for an excellent read-aloud. One section is similar to ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,’ which adds to the fun: ‘Kioni has a herd of goats/with hair of calico./And everywhere Kioni goes,/those goats are sure to —/ GO!’
Fullerton’s colourful three-dimensional art, which integrates paper sculpture and mixed media collage, draws readers into that lovely far-away community garden where cooperation, sharing, and commitment are so very important. One can almost feel the textures emanate off the pages. And, as a bonus, a recipe for pumpkin vegetable soup is included…”
Posted on November 14th, 2013 by pajamapress
“It’s lovely for young readers to catch a glimpse of village life in Kenya. The sentences are short and tell their story with a lively pace. The textural cut paper and collage illustrations add a lovely touch, and will invite close attention to the happenings in the village as the communal soup is prepared. Bright backgrounds match the brilliance of the children’s attire and the soup recipe shared at the back had my mouth watering…it is that time of year for the comfort it brings…”
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on November 5th, 2013 by pajamapress
“This is a book about school age children in Kenya who have a garden outside their school and work together to harvest the vegetables to make a communal soup for all to share. Unfortunately one child, unable to tie up her goats brings them to school where the children have a lot of laughs trying to stop them from eating their vegetables. At one point someone has the idea to milk the goats and add the milk to the communal soup which makes it more delicious.
This is a fun read that helps children understand the way of life of Kenyan school children and how different their life is from our own. It also describes the various vegetables and what goes into making soup and in the end even gives a recipe for making a pumpkin vegetable soup to make at home with an adult.
Curricular applications include learning about Kenya: discovering a world outside their own, how children work alongside parents and teachers and that children have chores to do before attending school, how community gardens work and how everyone gets to share in the work and in the cultivation, and how to make a communal soup and what goes in.
Thematic links: Children Working Together; Community Gardening and Cooking; Goats.”
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Posted on July 30th, 2013 by pajamapress
“Book Reviews: Savoring the Bounty of Gardens and Good Food”
—The International Reading Association reviews books about gardening and food, including Community Soup by Alma Fullerton
“’It’s soup day!’ The first line of this story draws readers into a day-in-the-life of Kenyan school community, which Fullerton depicts with mixed-media collage and paper-sculptures that lend a diorama-like depth to each scene….A satisfying and worthy purchase…”
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on June 8th, 2013 by pajamapress
Mary’s little lamb becomes a village child’s goats in this quirky, Kenya-set tale of making pumpkin vegetable soup.
The story opens with children picking vegetables from a community garden. “But where is Kioni?” Kioni is looking for her goats. Suddenly, the text turns into a familiar rhyme, adapted to reflect its setting in an unnamed Kenyan village. Kioni’s goats “with hair of calico” almost eat the vegetables, but they make a better contribution to the soup instead (never fear: It’s just their milk). Textured collage illustrations combining natural materials and painted images show the busy children, the corn, pumpkin, sweet potato and other vegetables that make up the soup, and Kioni’s calico-haired goats. The simple text is set on harvest-toned pages opposite full-bleed pictures. At one point, two consecutive images carry the action. Two double-page spreads emphasize highlights: goats in the garden (“GO!”) and, at the end, goats and children each eating their appropriate foods. The story concludes with a recipe. Fullerton, who introduced young readers to rural Uganda in A Good Trade (illustrated by Karen Patkau; 2013), provides a positive picture of community cooperation in another rural setting, identified as Kenya in the publisher’s cataloging.
For reading aloud or alone, a nourishing choice. (Picture book. 4-7)
Posted on May 27th, 2013 by pajamapress
“In this Stone Soup-flavoured story, a Kenyan school is busy with lunchtime preparations. While the teachers stir the broth, students pick vegetables from the community garden. Kioni is late—she’s looking for her goats, which have a habit of wandering away. Not only do the wayward animals break the “no goats at school” edict, they also wreak havoc in the garden. Frustrated by her uncooperative, stubborn charges, the young girl grumbles, “I’d like to put them in the soup.” A creative classmate sees a culinary opportunity and incorporates the goats’ milk as a special ingredient.
The book’s spare text warmly invites the reader into the daily life of the village. The simple sentences have a conversational tone and the superb pacing makes for a lively read aloud. Children will also enjoy the riff on “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (“Kioni has a herd of goats, / with hair of calico”).
This is Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award winner Alma Fullerton’s first time as both author and illustrator, and her paper-sculpture illustrations are a visual feast. When Kioni realizes the mess her goats have caused, her “oh no” moment is captured up close, as she gazes directly at the reader, hands covering her mouth with surprise and chagrin. In the field, the children’s bright clothing stands out against the leafy green background. Textures seem tactile, from the rough, peeling bark on twigs to the softly curling tufts of the goats’ hair.
Community Soup offers a satisfying blend of cooperation, hard work, and play…”
—Linda Ludke, a librarian at London Public Library.