Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review: Soup Day

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Book Review: Soup Day

About the Book

Most people will confess that there is something quite magical about soup. Soup can warm your bones, lift your spirits, and fill your heart. Award-winning illustrator Melissa Iwai celebrates a trip to the local green market, a quiet afternoon at home, and the joy found in making a pot of homemade goodness in her new picture book Soup Day (September 28, 2010; Henry Holt). The idea for the book was born from Melissa’s time spent in the kitchen with her son Jamie and the special bonding and learning experience that came from it. The gentle story transmits, through its words and pictures, the meaningful experience a child can have by cooking with a parent.

A deceptively simple book proves not so simple (in the most glorious of ways) upon closer reading. From choosing the vegetables to picking the pasta shapes, the journey of cooking homemade soup is filled with small learning lessons that are incorporated in a subtle way. Sound, smell, taste and touch combine to pepper the text with the swirl-and-whirl of broth, vegetables, and spices. Carrots become circles, onions become squares, parsley becomes confetti. Yellow onions, white mushrooms and green zucchini sizzle and bubble. With pitch perfect tone – not too preachy, not too sappy -- Soup Day is a celebration of cooking as a means of spending time together and creating something delicious and healthy in the process. A starred review from Kirkus praises Soup Day as “Ordinariness made extraordinary.”

A self-taught chef, Melissa is Cooking Light’s Ultimate Reader Recipe Grand Prize Winner for 2010. Previously, she has been selected twice as a finalist for the contest.

The book’s theme of sharing in the process of making a meal together continues as the author shares her own “Snowy Day Vegetable Soup” recipe at the back of the book.
The universality of the love of soup, the love of learning and the love of spending time with family and friends make for the perfect reading recipe. Soup Day’s bright and vivid illustrations will inspire young readers (and young chefs!) to create their own soups – whether real or imaginary.

About the Author

Melissa Iwai received her BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design in
Pasadena, CA and has illustrated many children’s books, including Toolbox Twins, B is for Bulldozer, and Good Night Engines. Soup Day is the first book she has both written and illustrated. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and their young son, Jamie (who loves to cook with his mom). For more information on Melissa and her books, visit her website at Her cooking/art blog can be found at, where she gives tips on cooking with children and more.

On Melissa’s website, there is a unique feature showcasing the process of illustrating children’s books. From manuscript to concept sketches and from “the dummy” to the final paintings and the final product – Melissa takes interested readers on a path through the development of a picture book. Additional soup recipes can also be found on her website.

My Take on the Book

A wonderful book to share with your kids that will spark a new family tradition for you and your kids. While I have cooked with my kids in the past, I have yet to make soup with them. The process of making soup is so fun, and this book takes you step-by-step through the process and allows you to see how this simple process can be a bonding experience between you and your child.

I particularly enjoyed the images within the book, and found that my oldest could read the book on her own with little assistance (which she and I am always proud to see).

Overall, a great family book, and one that I would highly recommend!

If this book sounds like something that you would like to have for your own library you can find it on Amazon!

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Terms of Use  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.

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