It was truly joyous to see the Halloween book display in the window of my local independent bookshop today. A lot of the books were familiar – and there were some new additions, bedecked in orange foil, spooky and fun – but there was one book I hadn’t seen before: Pumpkin Soup.
The story is the kind that might not get past an editor at a modern publishing house – a different brand of quirky, harder to categorise – and features a squirrel, a cat and a duck that live together in an old white cabin and share all the domestic tasks – including the making of the daily pumpkin soup. One day, when Duck wants to stir the soup and the others won’t let him – not his part of the job, you understand – he gets in a huff and runs off. When he doesn’t return in time for soup the next day – which tastes horrible as only Duck knows the right amount of salt to add – the two animals go looking for their friend, imagining what might have become of him, on the way. Happily they all reconcile back at the cabin, and Duck is allowed to stir the soup. And he then plays bagpipes at the end. See, told you it was strange!
I am glad I finally discovered this gem (published in 1998) – the colour palette is rich and autumnal and the illustrations are truly stunning and evocative. Enjoy some pumpkin soup this Halloween!
Pumpkin Soup, published by Corgi, is available now.