Elinor Wonders Why: Backyard Soup

Kids Can. (Elinor Wonders Why). May 2024. 32p. adapted by Genie MacLeod. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781525306266.
Gr 1-3–Based on an episode of the Elinor Wonders Why television series, this picture book holds its own as a standalone. Lively Elinor, in digitally rendered art, is a white, bunnylike person, and Ari is her brown, batlike friend. She announces that they are having a backyard soup, explaining that homegrown vegetables from the leafy green surroundings of their suburban home are the basis for it. When she travels to her grandparents’ desert home, her attempts to recreate her soup for them are spoiled because she doesn’t recognize any of the produce; then Baba and Bibi show her the kinds of vegetables that thrive, along with the cactus, in their setting. Back matter includes “more observations,” a trope from the series, about life in the desert. This book and others in the series are very much for fans of the show, and featuring an industrious and scientifically minded child who is not afraid to ask questions, it has its strengths.
VERDICT For schools where Elinor is popular, or as an accessible gateway to other books about scientific inquiry and developing powers of observation.

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