Where did this soup come from?
I don’t know.
I’ll give you four choices.
When two brothers sit down to eat soup together, the younger brother is filled with wonderings about its ingredients and asks questions ranging from who prepared the soup for them to details about how specific items within the soup were grown. The older brother responds to each of his sibling’s questions with four possible answers. Of these multiple-choice options offered, one is correct and the others are silly enough to make children laugh. All of this turns into a fun game for the young character while he waits for his soup to cool down. On the other hand, the game begins to feel tedious for the older brother who looks forward to the moment when his brother begins to eat instead of asking questions.
Young readers of Carole Tremblay’s Lentil Soup can play along in this guessing game by predicting which of the options they believe is true. Furthermore, this guessing game model could spark curiosity in readers’ own lives. They may begin to ask questions about their own foods and possibly even seek to play a similar game.
Lentil Soup is a playful story filled with many small, detailed illustrations by Maurèen Poignonec that will likely keep its intended audience entertained throughout. Each possible answer offered by the older brother is enhanced by a quarter-page illustration of a scene filled with personified animals making puns. Many of these various animal characters demonstrate human-like appearances, such as their wearing clothing and accessories.
The end of the book features a simple recipe for lentil soup, one suitable for a young child to make with adult supervision.
Lentil Soup may appeal to children interested in learning more about science and where their food comes from. Young readers will likely learn some new facts while adding words, such as “hyacinths”, to their vocabulary. Lentil Soup may be a book best suited for a read-aloud with someone old enough to explain some concepts to children (and perhaps assist them in making lentil soup afterwards). More specifically, it is likely that the intended audience will require an adult to explain some of the puns. Without an understanding of the puns, the humour may be missed. Overall, Lentil Soup is recommended if the story is being read aloud.
Andrea Boyd is an early years’ teacher in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is currently pursuing her M. Ed. degree, specializing in Language and Literature, at the University of Manitoba.