As a kid, I’m sure most of you, like me, claimed to see shapes or faces in your soup. A la veggies or rice, of course. I know all of you saw words in your vegetable broth courtesy of alphabet noodles. Those were fun, right? But a GIRAFEE in your soup? An alligator? A whale? That would have been crazy. That intrigue drew me straight toward Ross Burach’s There’s a Giraffe in My Soup. It’s ladles of fun!
Synopsis: A boy cruises to a restaurant for a yummy bowl of soup. But wait, there’s a giraffe in his soup! The waiter brings him another bowl, but a different animal lingers in his lunch. What is going on?
As I’ve noted before, quirky PBs are my absolute favorite. This book fits right into that category. The premise alone is fun and different—unlike any PB I’ve read. But also, it combines two things that most of us love: food and animals. Burach pulls of this combination in a laugh-out-loud text that keeps the reader turning the pages. You know another animal is bound to appear in the boy’s soup, but what will it be next?
The simplicity of the text is inspiring. I love that it’s all dialogue, which is very difficult to do. Burach makes every word count by only using what is needed and by maximizing usage through alliteration, consonance, and assonance. One of my favorite lines: “Waiter! Waiter! An alligator! Please hurry! My soup is trying to eat me!” Also, the emphasis on certain words via larger or colorful font makes this read-aloud punchy and ultra kid-friendly.
The illustrations add a powerful kick to this gut-busting story. I think that extra pow comes from white space around the boy, waiter, and animals. That, coupled with the colors, draws the readers’ eyes directly to the action. It’s fresh, modern, and strategic. Also, I love the human-to-animal size ratio. The waiter carrying the giraffe in a bowl on a tray through a small door is hilarious, as is the ginormous elephant sitting atop a tiny, checkered table.
Heat up your favorite bowl of soup, season with some imagination, and read this PB to a child. But be careful, soup will likely spray out both of your nostrils.