Sopa de Frijoles / Bean Soup

Sopa de frijoles / Bean Soup by Jorge Argueta and Rafael Yockteng

A winner of a bilingual book, this picture book is a poem about making bean soup.  Lovingly filled with great ingredients and metaphors, the poem works well.  It follows a young boy through the steps of making sopa de frijoles, from sorting the beans to chopping onions to peeling garlic, and adding salt.  An adult in near in the illustrations, but the boy does the work himself, adding to the joy of the book.

Without any overly-sweet taste, this book offers a poem for children that is respectful and delightful.  It is distinctly a poem rather than prose chopped into stanzas.  The language alone puts it into that category:

The water boils and sings.

The beans dance


The water has turned brown

the color of Mother Earth.

Your house

smells wonderful

like the earth

after the first

winter rains.

That is just one of many passages that capture a sensory experience with tangible images that children can understand but that also ask children to imagine.

Highly recommended, this book would be ideal for a bilingual story time.  But it is also wonderful in a single language program as well.  Appropriate for ages 4-8.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by La Bloga and Poetry for Children.