November 2013 | Barbara Basbanes Richter

Soup's On!

"Blue Moon Soup: A Family Cookbook," Recipes by Gary Goss, illustrated by Jane Dyer; Sky Pony Press, $16.95, 72 pages, ages 6-10.

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Blue Moon Soup Illustrations ©1999, 2013 by Jane Dyer All Rights Reserved.

Cooking together is a wonderful way for parents to interact with youngsters, and Blue Moon Soup presents thirty delicious recipes, grouped by season, plus recipes for bread, salad and snacks for the whole family to enjoy.

The book is written to engage sous-chefs of all ages. Small children will happily collect the "Stuff" (ingredients) for each recipe, while older children can advance to tasks such as sorting, whisking and peeling. Everyone in the kitchen will relish the quirky and charming names of each dish: "Mary had a Little Lamb Stew," "Sob Soup" (an onion-based preparation), there's even "Bisque in the Sun." 

Blue Moon Soup is more than just a cookbook; it's a primer on proper cooking techniques. There's a kitchen tools checklist, soup kitchen rules, even a diagram for properly setting the table. Before cooking anything, be sure to read aloud Lewis Carroll's slurpy homage to potage "Turtle Soup" on the first page. 

Cooks can rest assured that these recipes have been thoroughly tested before publication: Chef Gary Goss is an expert soup maker.  In 1997 he founded the successful Soup Kitchen in Northampton, Massachusetts. The proof of his dedication is in the pudding: Since it's original publication in 1999, Blue Moon Soup has won numerous accolades, including the Smithsonian Notable Books for Children Award, the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, and Parents' Choice Award.

Legendary children's book illustrator (and fellow Northampton resident) Jane Dyer renders 14 full-page watercolor illustrations of sunbathing vegetables, dancing ducks and sobbing onions in her trademark whimsical style. Children will love pouring over the images of dancing utensils and piano-playing animals while indulging in a bowl of happiness that they helped make.  This book is a visual and gustatory delight to be enjoyed all year long.