Joshua’s Bookshelf!: Garden Safari Vegetable Soup, by Eluka Moore, Larry Puzniak, and Marianne Welsh

[This review is based on the hardcover edition published by Bread and Butter Publishing in 2014.]

So what’s it about?
The Kitchen Club Kids are setting out on a safari through their garden with one goal: to gather up the necessary ingredients to make a pot of delicious vegetable soup!

What did we think of the book?
I came across this book on the New Title Showcase at BEA and immediately had to have it. I knew Joshua would love it as much as I do, and he does — and here’s why: the story is told in simple rhymes with some cooking terminology to discuss, there are lots of delicious (and healthy!) foods and colors to identify, and each page presents an opportunity to count something! Here’s an example:

See what I mean? There’s lots going on on a single page, but it’s never overwhelming. On this particular page, not only are you identifying yellow onions, but you’re also counting them and learning about what it means to dice them! As you can see, the artwork is vibrant and adorable, and it appealed to Joshua’s imagination. He was curious about blue potatoes, as he’s only ever seen brown and red ones; I’ve never actually seen blue potatoes, either, so we sat down together and Googled them. Jumping on the computer and using the Internet to research, therefore, provided a pleasant surprise of a lesson!

My favorite thing about the book, however, is the Kitchen Club Kids themselves. They’re diverse!! I could practically hear the choirs of angels singing as I realized that not only are Caucasians, African-Americans, and Hispanics represented in the book, but they’re all given equal exposure. There wasn’t one main character and then two background characters — all three of them play important roles in fetching the vegetables and preparing the soup! The only thing missing was the fact that they didn’t have names, but because this is not the first book in the Kitchen Club Kids series, I was willing to let that go. I wonder if there’s a story in the works about the children’s names and how they formed the Kitchen Club Kids club?

Would we add it to Joshua’s bookshelf?
We love Garden Safari Vegetable Soup so much that I’m completely bent now on completing the set with End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad and Feed Your Senses: Homemade Bread (which is due for release in the fall). If your kids are learning about numbers, colors, healthy foods, diversity, or have an interest in cooking (and I think I’ve covered just about all young children at this point), you definitely want to check out these books!

Learn more about the Kitchen Club Kids!

Click here to purchase Garden Safari Vegetable Soup via Kitchen Club Kids or Barnes and Noble!