Pinch and Dash Make Soup
Michael J. Daley, author
Michael J. Daley is the author of Space Station Rat, Shanghaied to the Moon, and Rat Trap. He lives with his wife, author Jessie Hass, in Westminster, Vermont.
Read more about Michael.
Thomas F. Yezerski, illustrator
Thomas F. Yezerski is the illustrator of Mrs. Muddle Holidays, The Winner’s Walk, and Mimmie and Sophie: All Around Town, among other children’s books. He is also the author and illustrator of Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story. Thomas lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Read more about Thomas.
Daley’s easy-reading text about good friends learning to cooperate is served up just right with Yezerski’s illustrations in pen, ink and watercolor.
When lazy Pinch visits industrious Dash hoping for a good meal even though he has plenty of food in his refrigerator, he finds his friend stirring a pot of "skinny soup" with "bits of herbs floating in a lot of water." Disappointed, Pinch asks his buddy if they can "fatten it up." What ensues is a series of suggestions by Pinch to make the soup better. Of course, each ingredient he recommends is back in his kitchen. As he goes to and fro "all the way home," the soup begins to thicken. To make it perfect, Pinch wants to add pepper and hot sauce. Dash is offended and has a tantrum—no spicy ingredients will be added. But when each of the characters is alone with the soup, the heat factor is soon doubled. The comic aftermath results in a friendly hug and some shared soup at the local Chat and Chew restaurant. Newly independent readers will enjoy the light humor while tackling the more difficult words repeated throughout the text (simmering, slurped, refrigerator). Although Pinch and Dash are rather nondescript animals, they portray the full range of emotions friends experience when they must ultimately compromise.
Here's hoping more servings of this charming duo will make it to the (reading) table.
School Library Journal
Pinch is hungry but too lazy to make his own meal and too lazy to walk to a local restaurant for some soup. He wanders over to see what his friend Dash is cooking and takes his pepper and hot sauce along (because Dash never uses enough). Pinch sees that "skinny soup" is bubbling on the stove and returns home several times for ingredients from his fridge to add to it. When he attempts to slip some pepper and hot sauce into the pot, the friends argue. While Dash is in the dining room setting the table, Pinch sneaks a sprinkle of pepper and two squirts of hot sauce into it. When Dash returns, he feels bad about arguing with his friend, who has gone to sit at the table, and adds more seasonings. With the soup now inedible, the two end up hugging and going out for lunch. Suitable for confident readers who aren't ready to tackle chapter books, the story is told through short sentences and plenty of clues in the pictures. The illustrations are a little difficult to decipher at times, but not enough to be distracting or frustrating. A good choice for libraries looking to expand the upper ranges of their beginning-reader collections.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Pinch (an unidentified, vaguely gopher-ish critter) is hungry, and his fridge contains only a potato, spinach, and cheese. Too lazy to walk all the way to the Chat and Chew Café, he instead makes his way to friend Dash's house: "Dash was always cooking something. His kitchen would be warm. His kitchen would be full of good smells." He prudently brings along some hot sauce and pepper, however, knowing that Dash doesn't share Pinch's. Dash (another unidentified animal) is indeed cooking, but his soup is pretty thin, so Pinch offers his potato, and then, one by one, the rest of his stores. Both Pinch and Dash in turn secretly slip extra heat and into the dish, and the resulting soup is so spicy as to be ruined, so the two end up amiable heading to the Chat and Chew after all. Beginning readers who need a lot of flash and action will not find it here, but those youngsters who appreciate a quieter approach will find this enjoyable. Daley's effective use of repeated words and phrase, simple vocabulary, and grouping of event into four short chapters make this very accessible to novices, while the gentle situational humor will also help facilitate readers' digestion of this easy reader. Yezerski's line-and=watercolor illustrations are loosely low-key as well, with muted shades of golds, browns, blues, and greens punctuated with slightly scratchy thing black outlines. For instructional use, or for kids who like their entertainment on the mild side, this is a solid title.
Library Media Connection
After looking in his refrigerator and seeing a potato, spinach, and a bit of cheese, Pinch was too lazy to make soup. He thought about a restaurant that made the perfect soup, but he was too lazy to walk that far. Then, Pinch thought about his friend Dash who loved cooking. Pinch found Dash making soup, and before long Pinch got Dash to add more ingredients to make a perfect soup. While Dash gave in to his friend's constant nagging to add spinach, cheese, potato and more, he was not going to add hot sauce or pepper to the already simmering soup. But the otherwise delicious soup turns out to be nothing more than a waste of time and ingredients. The watercolor pictures are very dramatic and flow with the text. Youngsters will enjoy this early chapter book of two good friends who remain friends despite disagreement.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-081-2 PDF
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Page count: 48