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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Community Soup, written and illustrated by Alma Fullerton. Pajama Press, 2013. $19.95 ages 4 and up

"In the garden,
Matu digs
sweet potatoes.
Amundi bundles
But where is Kioni?
She is looking
for her -"
Everyone is helping with preparing soup for lunch. Where is Kioni?
She's late! Working together the children and teachers have managed to get all the ingredients in the soup pot. Why is Kioni late?
It doesn't take long to discover the problem. Her chores at home have kept her busy, and now she is looking for her goats. Where can they be? As everyone else works, Kioni makes a disturbing discovery. Her goats have found their way into the vegetable garden where they are wreaking havoc.
The children laugh and play, and tease Kioni about the misbehaviour and remind her that school is a 'no goat zone'. She is very embarrassed and angry with her charges, and fervently wishes that they might become a useful ingredient in today's soup. Not wanting that to happen, one of the children suggests that they might add goat's milk to the soup and heighten its flavor. What an idea!
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 is that time of year for the comfort it brings.
-A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to the Creation of Hope Project, supporting the  development of community gardens at Kenyan schools. Well worth your support, with an engaging story to boot!


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