Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup with Rice
Children's book review by Sarah Denslow
Poems about comfort food
When I was a child, I loved Maurice Sendak’s Chicken Soup with Rice just as much as I loved the dish itself. Although I am now less fond of chicken soup with or without rice, I still love Sendak’s wonderful collection of poems devoted to this classic comfort food.
Featuring one poem for each month of the year, Chicken Soup is a wonderfully fanciful description of the narrator’s year-round love of the concoction.
(Check out January's poem/picture.)
There is a joyfulness to the book that never fails to put a smile on my face. Although short and often printed in a very small format, Sendak’s fanciful pictures and pithy, playful verses nevertheless create an incredibly rich world.
In February, while celebrating his snowman’s anniversary, the narrator forgoes cake in favor of soup. In April, he travels to far off lands and dreams about “hot soup all day.” In September, he imagines himself riding a crocodile down “the chicken soupy Nile.”
Having grown up in the often stifling summer heat and humidity of coastal South Carolina, I was always fascinated by the lines of August’s poem:
In August it will be so hot
I will become a cooking pot.
That description and the illustration of a steaming pot with the narrator's face on it always seemed to me to be a terribly apt description of the blazing summer heat.
Sendak ends the book by saying that "all seasons of the year are nice for eating chicken soup with rice," and while I don't know about eating hot soup in August, I would certainly say that all seasons are nice for reading Chicken Soup with Rice.
More books about the seasons.
More books of poems.
Read more of Sarah's book reviews.
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