cover image Fish Soup

Fish Soup

Ursula K. Le Guin, Guin Le, Le Guin. Atheneum Books, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31733-0

This meager original fable by celebrated author LeGuin concerns two adult friends, Thinking Man and Writing Woman. He is impeccably neat; she could care less about being tidy. He thinks; she writes and makes books. While they maintain separate lives (and homes), they enjoy each other's company. On one occasion, they speculate what kind of child they would each like. Thinking Man envisions a girl, but only as a flutter of dress and a patter of feet--nothing more. Writing Woman sees a boy--someone who can catch fish to be put into soup and perform other helpful chores. Their imaginations bring forth their own personal creations, with unexpected complications. Part fantasy, part comic look at parents' unrealistic expectations, this book may hold some vague appeal for children who like fantasy; LeGuin's loyal fans may also have an interest. All in all, however, the didactic tale isn't enough of a story from this gifted writer. Plus, Wynne's sepia-toned, cross-hatched art, despite a few clever touches (flying mice, a droll chess set), is bland--its prosaic, earthbound quality makes for a poor match with LeGuin's flight of fancy. Ages 7-9. (Sept.)