Helen Cooper cooks up much more than a pot of pumpkin soup in this tasty picture-book for early readers. Enter into the messy world of kitchen politics with a bagpipe-playing Cat, a Squirrel with a banjo and a little singing Duck!

With beautiful illustrations, Cooper invites us to peer in through the window of an “old white cabin,” deep in the woods, where an animated production line is in place. Cat, Squirrel and Duck each have an important role to play in the creation of pumpkin soup: Cat slices the pumpkin, Squirrel stirs the water and Duck adds the salt. Each evening the trio slurp down their soup which is “the best you ever tasted” and enjoy merry music-making. “Everyone is happy,” or so we are led to believe, until one day Duck decides he would like to stir the soup and stirs up a very “horrible squabble” in the process! Duck waddles away in a fury, threatening both his friendships and the soup which becomes far too salty without his seasoning.

Cooper combines the perfect ingredients for encouraging discussion about the value of co-operation in this 1997 Kate Greenaway Medal Winner. Her endearingly illustrated characters invite fellow feeling and emotional identification, allowing young readers to explore the challenges of teamwork from multiple viewpoints. The book’s pedagogical value is enriched by fun typographical changes – KERplunk! – and alliterative language – “a row, a racket, a rumpus” – which create an engaging narrative little ones will love.

Written and illustrated by Helen Cooper. 
Lydia Mihailovic, literary editor