A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that we found no objectionable content in this book. Curt, forced, two-word sentences won't encourage children to read along, but the relationship between a dog and a cat is appealing and becomes apparent through the obvious but charming illustrations.
What's the story?
Readers unfamiliar with this pair of pets will be surprised to learn that Bean and Soup are the names of two animals, rather than things to eat. The two-word (subject-preposition) sentences describe the game of chase between a cat and a dog. Soup the dog is eventually exiled from the house, but his stalwart feline pal joins him.
This unusual pair of friends enjoys a game of chase around the sofa, on the bookcase, and through the cat's bed until Soup the dog is disciplined and sent outdoors. Fortunately, Bean the cat is a good enough friend to follow behind. The two then curl up together for a nap, and the peaceful expressions of the slumbering Bean and Soup punctuate a pleasant ending.
Is it any good?
It is always pleasing to see nature's enemies wind up as friends, and this is the charming story line behind BEAN SOUP. Although Sarah Hines-Stephens uses mostly two-word sentences to describe the characters' activities in her series of books about Bean, in this instance the sentences seem unfinished, and the text sounds forced and choppy.
However, the illustrator allows readers to make sense of the story through her depictions of the dog and cat at play and rest. This book introduces prepositions in a way children can understand them, but adults may need to call attention to illustration details for the story to make sense.