May 27, 2013

Community Soup

by Alma Fullerton
Pajama Press
32 pp.
Ages 4-7
May 15, 2013

Ah, it's soup day, and everyone has something to do.  Jomo, Dalila, Matu and Amundi are collecting beans, a pumpkin, sweet potatoes and corn from their school garden.  The teachers are stirring the pots.  And Kioni? She's like Mary of the lambs but with goats who follow her to school although against the No Goats rule! But goats will be goats and they are soon into the garden.  While the children herd the goats away from their produce, Kioni comes up with a tasty solution that allows the goats to participate in the community soup-making, without coming to any harm.

Alma Fullerton may be known for her award-winning novels in verse such as In the Garage (Red Deer Press, 2006), Walking on Glass (HarperCollins Canada, 2006), Libertad (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2008) and Burn (Dancing Cat Books, 2010) but last year's A Good Trade, also from Pajama Press, heralded her auspicious entry into the club of CanLit picture book authors.  With Community Soup, her newest offering, Alma Fullerton can now add CanLit picture book illustrator to her resumé.

Still putting her story into the joyous rhyme of a favourite nursery tale, Alma Fullerton enhances it with her three-dimensional artwork in mixed media with collages of paper cutouts creating a bounty of textures, teeming with the bold and evocative colours of a Kenyan community.  And the satisfaction of creating a dish cooperatively from the fruits (and vegetables) of their labour and successfully with solving the dilemma of the errant goats is all the greater, for the children and the readers.

But Alma Fullerton doesn't stop there.  In addition to sharing her art and rhyme, she provides the recipe for Pumpkin Vegetable Soup (see below) and donates a portion of her book proceeds to the Creation of Hope Project, delivering further to the cooperative quality of Community Soup. Bon appetit!

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