Written by Kashmira Sheth
Illustrated by Jefferey Ebbeler
Take a simple story, simply told. Add to it colorful illustrations that parallel the imagination of the characters and you will get the delightful Tiger In My Soup. Sibling interaction, a love of books, and the power of imagination populate this light and frothy tale. In just 300 words the author creates a world where imagination reigns supreme and tigers roam free. Beware though. It’s such a wonderful read aloud that your voice may beg for a rest after the third, or tenth, thirtieth request to ‘read it one more time please’.
Older sister is in charge for the day. “Will you read to me?” younger brother, who is also the narrator, asks. Sister doesn’t deign to reply. Well then, brother demands lunch. She is in charge, after all. Super-efficient sister opens a can of soup, heats it, warns him that it is hot, and is back to her reading before brother can put in another plea. Hmm. That trick didn’t work either. But it is an ALPHABET soup that sister has served.
Brother, and the illustrator, are off and running. The letters R O A R are visible floating in the bowl. Maybe there is a tiger in the soup rising out of the steam…..Brother arms himself, and oh how he arms himself! a colander helmet, a spoon sword and a tray for a shield. First graders will enjoy figuring out the all kitchen gadgets that make up the weaponry. Brother’s imaginary war is cleverly juxtaposed with sister’s nonchalance. The world may be coming to an end but I shall read on, sister seems to say.
The illustrations don’t just complement the text, they add layers to it. The cover of the book brother is holding out, and the double-page spread which begins “I hand it to her and she begins to read,” are reminiscent of the Madhubani paintings of India. Such a wonderful combination of an ancient art form and a modern sensibility: cars and boats and music and books.
Brother wages war. Sister reads on. Does she read to him? Read the book to find out. Here’s a clue: he does wonder where tiger will show up next. A thoroughly enjoyable addition to any reading list.
Author bio: http://kashmirasheth.com/about/index.php
Illustrator bio: http://www.jeffillustration.com/Bio.html
Madhubani paintings: http://colorofindia.com/madhubani-art.htm