cover image Carrot Soup

Carrot Soup

John Segal, . . S&S/McElderry, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-87702-5

The bread-baking Little Red Hen could have used some pals like those of hard-working Rabbit in this sweet—and tummy-tempting—picture book about a bunny and his favorite dish. As soon as spring arrives, Rabbit eagerly plows and plants, laying the groundwork for the orange crop that will become the delicious chief ingredient in the titular soup. After months of watering, weeding and waiting—expertly conveyed in a series of spot illustrations—Rabbit is ready to harvest his delicacy. But upon finding an empty carrot patch, Rabbit goes into a tizzy, asking all his animal friends if they've seen his veggies. While all his buddies feign ignorance, readers know the real story, humorously playing out in the background of Segal's (The Reluctant Dragon ) airy and delicately hued watercolors. A frazzled and disappointed Rabbit finally returns home to a tasty surprise—and a cozy house full of friends. The spare text, with its fun repetition and visual story line, invites repeated readings for the very young. Segal's fresh paintings, a mix of sunny landscapes and vignettes, are like a breath of spring. For budding gourmands, a guide to carrot varieties and a carrot soup recipe are included. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)