cover image Alphabet Soup

Alphabet Soup

Kate Banks. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $12.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-394-89151-4

Banks's story begins with a typical dinnertime predicamenta boy will not eat his soup. His mother notes that he is as grumpy as a bear, and so the boy fishes out the letters spelling ``bear'' from his alphabet soup. With that, he has a companion (looking surprisingly like the honey-filled bear that had been on the table), and their adventures take them through a tablecloth landscape of cups that sail, wise-looking salt shakers and a house (painted on the side of a teapot) where the boy and the bear take shelter for the night. Sis's contribution to this story adds a dimension not found in the text; everything that transpires is governed by what was placed on the table before the fantasy begins; readers can flip back to the opening shot of the boy and venture guesses as to what might happen next. Using oil pastels, the miniature figures have a flat, primitive look against the bluish-white tablecloth that suits both the real-life and more inventive aspects of the tale; Sis also provides a kitchen full of details similar to the backgrounds of his recent Waving. Ages 3-7. (October)