Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

Pumpkin Soup is one of our favourite autumn picture books and reading it heralds the time of year when the days are getting shorter, the mornings are getting cooler and homemade soup becomes a staple food. The three protagonists in the story, Cat, Squirrel and Duck, have a very traditional soup making routine which is turned upside down when one of them decides he wants to do things differently!

Pumpkin Soup - Story SnugThe Story: Cat, Squirrel and Duck make pumpkin soup every day. Each has their own job but one day Duck decides he wants to stir the soup instead of Squirrel. Cat and Squirrel are so incensed by the idea that an argument ensues and Duck leaves. As the day goes by, Cat and Squirrel start to get worried and their pumpkin soup doesn’t taste the same without Duck’s help. Eventually Duck returns and the friends make soup. Harmony is restored but then Duck decides to try something new…

Pumpkin Soup is a delicious story about the relationship between three friends. They live happily together in an old white cabin in the woods and in the evenings they make music and sing. Life is peaceful and orderly until Duck makes his ‘outrageous’ suggestion!

Cat and Squirrel’s initial outrage is replaced by worry when Duck doesn’t return, his absence makes them realise that he was only trying to help. We love the lengths that they go to when they search for Duck and their imaginations go into overdrive as they wonder where he could be. One of our favourite illustrations shows them imagining Duck becoming famous for his soup making!

Helen Cooper’s earthy, predominantly brown and orange illustrations are perfect for this time of year and pumpkins are heavily featured, the pumpkin quilt filled with Duck’s feathers is gorgeous! We love the way that smaller pictures are interspersed throughout the text and the larger illustrations are wonderfully atmospheric. My daughter particularly likes picture of the cabin in the woods which is filled with daily music, bagpipes play a pertinent role in the story too!Pumpkin Soup white cabinPumpkin Soup is a wonderful story to read in the classroom at this time of year. It can stimulate some great conversations about friendship and the way that each animal has behaved in the story. It’s also a lovely stimulus for pumpkin crafts with younger children. Older children could collect their own soup recipes for a class recipe book and even make their own pumpkin soup!

We’re still looking for the perfect recipe for pumpkin soup, ours always tastes bland and boring. We’d love you to share your favourite pumpkin soup recipe in the comments 🙂

Age Range: 3 +

Author / Illustrator: Helen Cooper

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26 thoughts on “Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

  1. This book sounds delightful! It is just the ticket as we start to change seasons, I’ll be looking out for this one. (I find a little bit of curry powder gives our pumpkin soup a little kick) #MMBC

  2. I haven’t heard of this book before but it looks like a lovely autumnal read. I haven’t attempted pumpkin soup but if I find a good recipe then I’ll let you know! #readwithme

  3. Hi Catherine, what a lovely sounding story and it is perfect for this time of year! It doesn’t happen to have a recipe for pumpkin soup, does it? It has to be good if they eat it every day! If the cover is anything to go by the illustrations must be great. I can see why your daughter likes the illustration of the cabin in the woods!

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC.


    • Unfortunately there is no recipe for pumpkin soup which would be great as I’m still looking for the perfect recipe. It would be fabulous if Duck, Squirrel and Cat could visit and show me exactly how they cook their soup!!

  4. It sounds like a great book and so much more than a story to offer. I’m sorry I can’t give you a pumpkin soup recipe. I am the only person in the family that likes pumpkin, so if I have pumpkin soup it’s usually from a carton.

    • Since I wrote this post I’ve discovered that the secret is to roast the pumpkin with the skin on first then then puree it skin and all! It makes all the difference to the taste 🙂

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