Cover image for Surprise soup
Surprise soup
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 2009.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 28 cm.
Added Author:
When Kevie's mother has a baby, Kevie, his older brother, and their father make soup for when the new baby comes home.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book EASY ROD 0 1

On Order



Mama had a baby last night. ?Is it a boy or a girl? I ask Daddy. ?It's a surprise, Kevie,? he says. ?You'll fi nd out when they come home.' ?When is that? I ask. ?Tonight,? says Daddy.

Kevie is excited that he'll no longer be the littlest. Little brothers get teased. Little brothers make messes. Big brothers help out. Big brothers know how to do things. Daddy, big brother Josh, and Kevie are making Mama's special soup to welcome her and the new baby home. But only Kevie knows the secret ingredient.

Absolutely irresistible illustrations and a funny, read-aloud text make this book just right for little brothers, big brothers'and their parents.

Author Notes

Former librarian Mary Ann Rodman received the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award as well as the Charlotte Zolotow Award for Writing for My Best Friend (Viking). She lives with her husband and daughter in Alpharetta, Georgia.

G. Brian Karas is the awardwinning illustrator of many books for young readers including A Place Called Kindergarten (Putnam). He lives in New York's Hudson Valley with his family.

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

PreS-K-Mama Bear's on the way home with a new baby, and middle brother Kevie does his best to help big Josh and Daddy make homecoming Saturday Soup. Teasing ensues when Kevie opens too many cans of beans, uses soap to wash the vegetables, and sneezes into the pot. His insistence on using sugar is deflected until near the end when his culinary talents create the title "Surprise Soup." As his family praises the new taste, Kevie cuddles his new baby brother. Karas's collages of stocky bears keeping house are right on target for enhancing Rodman's cozy story. The variety of compositions and remarkably expressive faces makes this a joyful read-again. The dialogue stays true to family banter and the author peppers the text with the "splip plop splip plop" of turnips and celery falling into the pot and a "blumpetty blurp" of singing soup, making it fun for storytellers, too. This one's a recipe for grins.-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Review

Nobody listens to a little brother," complains Kevie the bear. He finally comes into his own when he, big brother Josh, and Daddy prepare Mama's special soup; it just so happens that Kevie's the only one who knows the secret ingredient. Unfussy mixed-media illustrations featuring the bear family in silly aprons are well suited to this satisfying tale. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Rodman does surprise readers by introducing a big subject (Mom's coming home with a new baby) and switching a bit abruptly to the subject of, well, soup. Dad tells Kevie, a little bear, that mom and baby are coming home tonight and asks Kevie and his older brother Josh what they want to make as a welcome-home dinner. They decide on soup, which becomes "Surprise Soup" as a secret ingredient is added on the advice of Kevie, who has learned a special trick from helping his mom. The story is filled with typical bickering and competing between the brothers, but a gentle humor nicely perks up the writing and Karas's soft, rustic part-drawn/part-collaged illustrations. The new-baby theme ultimately serves as more of a distraction to the real storythat Kevie, in the soup-making process, proves to his bossy older brother and himself that he has something useful to add to the family. Functions better as a story for picked-on little brothers than for new siblings. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* As the average size of the American family dwindles, so do the number of picture books that portray families with more than two kids. The family in this warm offering certainly isn't of Cheaper by the Dozen proportions; there are only three children. But it shows a situation that's surprisingly rare among the raft of books about a new baby's arrival: the displacement of a middle child. While waiting for Mama to return from the hospital with a new baby, Kevie, an adorable, stumpy bear cub, helps his older brother, Josh, and their dad make a pot of soup. Josh teases Kevie about his kitchen missteps, such as opening too many cans and washing the vegetables with soap. And Kevie feels ignored, especially when he tries to share the secret ingredient to Mama's soup. At last, though, Daddy and Josh follow Kevie's advice (add sugar) and create a delicious meal that Mama, and a crowd of relatives, enjoy. Frequent, playful sound effects ( blurpetty-blurp . . . shakety-shake ) will make read-alouds fun, and Rodman perfectly captures the rhythm and words of family dialogue, from Josh's taunts to Daddy's mediating efforts: We're all a team. Karas' collage artwork combines thickly lined, expressive figures with patterned details that emphasize the cozy domestic setting and make a warm, reassuring counterpoint to the story's themes of change and sibling frustrations. Together, the words and pictures form a realistic, tender celebration of middle children and the small, everyday moments that make up the richness of family life.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2009 Booklist