If you are looking for a recipe certain to tantalize your grandson, I would like to recommend a generous helping of Little Boy Soup. I grabbed this enchanting little story from the lesser known recesses of my bookshelf on my way to visit the kids last weekend, and it is an understatement to say that three-year-old Pooh could not get his fill of it.
Although Sooby liked it too, this modernized fairy tale by David L. Harrison seems, for obvious reasons, to hold a special fascination for a little boy. Pooh, for one, related instantly to the protagonist, a boy who, during the proverbial walk through the forest, happens upon the cottage of the Witch of the Woods and thereafter seems destined for her soup pot.
Like his literary counterparts who also encounter witch trouble, namely Hansel of Hansel and Gretel and Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz, he demonstrates the resourcefulness needed to circumvent the witch's evil intentions and thereby save his own neck. During our umpteen readings of the story, Sooby may have been listening, but Pooh was riveted.
I loved reading this story myself because the dialogue enabled me to break out my best witch voice and cackle appropriately. (This is good practice for the play-acting that inevitably follows.) On a more sophisticated level, anyone with a penchant for the literary will appreciate Harrison's use of sensory imagery (particularly those references to the smells of such things as peanuts, bananas, and overripe apples). Add the fact that the witch's instructions for making little boy soup appear in the form of a four-line rhyme reminiscent of the witches of Macbeth, and you have yourself a prize-winning recipe.
On a final note, no review of Little Boy Soup would be complete without the well-deserved praise due illustrator Toni Goffe. For example, hanging among the witch's larder of legitimate, soup-friendly vegetables are the likes of bats (upside down, of course), spiders, snakes, mice, and even a humanesque head or two. These various and sundry ingredients make great conversational fodder for a Googie and a three-year-old who want to add a little detour to their numerous trips through the story.
Although Little Boy Soup was published in 1990 (Ladybird Books), I am glad to see it is still available on Amazon.com. If I have whet your appetite for it, you can maybe access it there, at your library, or, like I did, at a garage sale for a quarter.
However you come by it, you won't be disappointed in your helping of Little Boy Soup. Whether you serve it to your little one as an appetizer, a main course, or a dessert right before bedtime, it will be a way to spice up your time together with fun, imaginative ingredients that will leave you both feeling satisfied.