I used a soup theme for this week’s pre-k storytime. We also had a daycare group visit, so I got to do it for them, too! My friend Al A. Gator (pictured left) accompanied me, wearing a napkin around his neck. He insisted that he was hungry and wanted Alligator Soup! Here is the full poem, Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee; Al and I just did the last verse because it fit our theme:
Alligator soup, alligator soup
If I don’t get some, I think I’m gonna droop
Give away my hockey stick, give away my hoop
But don’t give away my Alligator Soup.
We tried several different kinds of soup to soothe Mr. Al A. Gator’s craving:
Stone Soup, Told and Illustrated by Jon J. Muth. Sorry about the bad picture of the cover. This retelling of the classic story of stone soup is actually illustrated very beautifully. Three monks, Hok, Lok, and Siew, come upon a village where they are not welcomed by the villagers. Determined to teach the villagers about happiness, the monks begin to make stone soup. One by one, the villagers’ curiosity overcomes their selfishness and they begin to add ingredients to the soup. The end result is a village-wide feast, and the lesson that “sharing makes us all richer.” As an aside, this is one of my daughter’s favorite books, and has been since we got it from a book fair at her school a year or two ago. I love it, and I think it has an important message. That said, it was a little on the long side for my groups (3-5 years). If you use it for a storytime, make sure you mix it up with some other activities. I would also recommend commenting about certain things as you go along, to make sure they’re still with you. For example, once I asked the kids if they ever put stones in their soup, which they thought was funny. We also noted that one woman said she only had a few carrots, but the picture showed lots of carrots.
Making Minestrone, Stella Blackstone & Nan Brooks. “What do you do when you’re feeling lonely? You ask all your friends around to make a minestrone!” The adorable illustrations in this book depict a group of friends assembling ingredients and cooking a minestrone soup. Because of time constraints at pre-k, I only used this one for the daycare group. I can’t say that it knocked my socks off, because it didn’t. However, it is cute and it fit into our theme. You might be able to “spice it up” by giving each child a picture of a minestrone ingredient and having them come up to the front to add it while you read the story.
Feltboard song: Vegetable Soup Song (Sung to the tune of “Farmer in the Dell”
NOTE: (The original lyrics are “the soup is boiling up,” but for some reason I found it easier to sing “the soup is bubbling up.”
I made the broth can from grey and green cardstock. The other vegetables are clipart that I printed out and laminated using clear contact paper. The pot I drew freehand on dark blue cardstock and cut out a black oval for the top to simulate the interior of the pot. I glued these together and laminated them using clear contact paper. Then I used velcro dots on the back of the pot and on the back of each ingredient. We sang the song together, wiggling our fingers up each time we said “the soup is bubbling up,” and doing a stirring motion with our arms each time we said “stir slow, around we go”. When we were finished, we let Mr. Al A. Gator take a taste. He said it was good, but it was no Alligator Soup.
Perfect Soup, by Lisa Moser, Illustrated by Ben Mantle. Have you ever eagerly started cooking a favorite recipe only to discover that you are missing a key ingredient? Just as he begins to make Perfect Soup, Murray the mouse is dismayed when he finds that he is all out of carrots! He goes to the farmer for a carrot, but he says that he needs Murray to haul some logs for him before he will give Murray the carrot. This begins a series of quid pro quo that leaves Murray tired and frustrated. Each time Murray passes by the Snowman, he tries to get Murray’s attention, but “Murray is in a hurry.” When the Snowman is finally able to flag Murray down, he gives Murray a gift that eventually makes his dreams of Perfect Soup become reality. Children will love the surprise ending–Murray’s perfect soup does not have a carrot, but it is perfect just the same. The final picture of the book shows Murray sharing his soup with his new friend Snowman, who is sporting a new carrot nose! I really love this book, and I think it goes nicely with Stone Soup.
When we finished this one, Mr. Al A. Gator was crying! I had to wipe his eyes with his napkin. He thought it was very moving how Murray shared his carrot and his soup with his new pal, Snowman. When we asked if any of the kids had any Alligator Soup to share with Mr. Al A. Gator, they all said yes! He went through and ate so much Alligator Soup that he fell asleep!