Monday, March 19, 2012

Review #116: Alphabet Soup


Dad:  Today we are reviewing "Alphabet Soup."
Elijah (age 6):  Good.  Because I'm hungry.
Gracie (age 11):  I have no other words for this book except for... FREAKING AWESOMENESS!  Those are my words.
Dad:  It is written and illustrated by the great Scott Gustafson.
Isaac (age 13):  I love his art.
Gracie:  He has the best pictures.  No offense to any of my other favorite artists who might be reading this review...
Dad:   "Yes, everyone stinks compared to him... but no offense..."
Gracie:  Ha ha ha...
Lily (age 9):  His pictures are so detailed.  The shading pops out at you.
Gracie:  He does light and shadow well.  He has mastery of the mystery of colors.  He could probably make a donkey so realistic that people would say, "Come pull my cart, donkey."
Elijah:  It's so realistic, it probably took him 50 weeks to paint two pictures.
Dad:  Tell us what the book is about...
Isaac:  This book is about an otter that buys a house.  In the house he finds a dusty old soup pot.  It's really big and shaped like a zucchini.  He thinks, "I should have a potluck, and everyone could bring something to put in the soup."
Dad:  And who comes to the Soup Party?
Isaac:  All of his alphabetically ordered friends.
Dad:  That's quite remarkable to have 26 friends who all just happen to start with different letters of the alphabet, eh?
Gracie:  And they all brought food that started with the same letter as their name.
Isaac:  Yeah, what in the world is going on there?
Dad:  Quite a coincidence.
Isaac:  Like, there's a frog with flapjacks.
Gracie:  And a weasel with waltzing wieners!
Evangeline (age 4):  Yuck!
Dad:  And an elephant carrying eggplants in his ears.
Evangeline:  Yuck!!
Dad:  You wouldn't want to eat eggplants from an elephant's ears?
Lily:  I wouldn't even want to eat eggplants without the elephant.
Gracie:  I like food.  But I don't like any of the food in this book -- it's all yucky food.
Dad:  It's not all yucky.
Gracie:  Dude.  I wouldn't eat a soup with krill and pancakes in it.
Dad:  The pancakes aren't in the soup -- they are off to the side.
Gracie:  Well, I wouldn't eat a soup with krill in it.
Evangeline:  Yuck!!!
Isaac:  You don't even know what krill is, Evie.
Dad:  Maybe she can tell they're yucky just by looking at them.
Isaac:  Actually, I don't even know what krill is.
Gracie:  Whales eat it.
Dad:  So why did the koala have krill?
Gracie:  Maybe the koala's mother was a whale.
Dad:  Who was your favorite animal in this book?
Gracie:  The hedgehog.
Isaac:  Awww!  You little...
Gracie:  Grace, you stole mine!
Isaac:  I was going to say him too!
Dad:  Why do you guys like him?
Gracie:  Because he's chubby and fat and funny and cute.  And he's got an awesome hat with a bunch of herbs on top.
Elijah:  I think all of the animals are cool.
Isaac:  The illustrator's style is awesome.  Like, that looks like a real ox!
Dad:  It looks like a real ox sat and posed for Mr. Gustafson...  see all the highlights and shadows in the folds of its neck...
Isaac:  I don't know how he does that.
Gracie:  How would he get an ox to pose for him?!?
Isaac:  Or dancing hotdogs!  They look like real hotdogs!
Gracie:  Real dancing hotdogs.
Lily:  And a unicorn couldn't stand up on a stool while holding a plate!  But it looks real!
Gracie:  And where in the world would he get a unicorn to pose for him?  Or even a tiger for that matter.
Dad:  He must just be a good painter.  Lots of practice painting real things has helped him paint imaginary things.
Gracie:  No.  I think he must have lots of amazing pets.
Dad:  Can you see why Scott Gustafson is one of my favorite artists in the world?
Gracie:  He's so cool.
Lily:  I think he and Mr. Sandford are the same person.
Dad:  That's weird that you say that!  He and Mr. Sandford are actually friends.
Gracie:  Whaaaa?
Dad:  And I got to meet him once.
Isaac:  Did he sign your chest?
Dad:  Why would he sign my chest?
Isaac:  Maybe you didn't have any paper with you.
Lily:  Heee he haa haah!
Dad:  Ever since I studied art in college, I'd had three favorite artists.
Gracie:  Who?
Dad:  Glen Keane, Peter deSeve, and Scott Gustafson.  They were my heroes.  One time I was at a big book show with Mr. Sandford, and Scott Gustafson came walking up to say hi to him.  Mr. Sandford knew I was a big fan, so he was excited to introduce me.  But I was in shock.  He pulled Mr. Gustafson over....
Gracie:  Hah, ha ha....
Dad:  Gracie's already laughing!  Why... what do you think is going to happen?
Gracie:  I don't know!  Ha ha!  Something embarrassing!
Dad:  Mr. Gustafson came over, and Mr. Sandford introduced me.  I said, "It's so nice to meet you.  Whenever people ask me who my favorite artists are, I always say the same three names.  I always say: Glen Keane, Peter deSeve, and Scott Guffter...  uh, Scott Grufsta...  Scott Gooster...  Gott Scuffscerso...  Spott...  Scopp...
Kids:  HAHHH Ha ha Ho ho ho!!!
Dad:  I kept stumbling and stammering, on and on, as he stared at me.  Then finally he graciously stopped me and said, "I think I know the guy you're talking about."
Gracie:  Ho ho ho haa!
Dad:  Do you know what I did after that?
Gracie:  You gave him big huggies?
Dad:  No.  I zipped my lip and didn't say another word the entire time.  I just stood there with a big 'ol smile on my face.  You guys have met some pretty famous people already...  all those interviews you've done.  But you're never in shock around them.  You just act like all these famous people are your best buddies.
Gracie:  I'm a good talker.  I don't really get shocked.
Dad:  Is there anyone you would be shocked to meet?
Gracie:  Maybe China.
Dad:  China?  The whole country?
Gracie:  Ha ha ha!  NO!  I mean China Anne McClain.  She stars in a Disney show.
Lily:  I thought she meant... China!
Isaac:  Yeah, the whole country of China comes up to you...
Gracie:  Well, that would be shocking too.

a turtle takes tomatoes, by Elijah

a panda picks pansies and puts peppermint in her purse,
by Gracie

a giraffe gathers grapes, by Lily

a narwhal's nice nectarines, by Isaac


Author/Illustrator: Scott Gustafson
Published, 1994: Greenwich Workshop Press
Like it?  Here it is...