Perfect Soup is a colorfully illustrated book about a mouse named Murray. It is the middle of winter and Murray is going to make his recipe for Perfect Soup. He has everything he needs . . . or does he? Oh no! He doesn’t have a carrot! He searches everywhere but cannot find a single one. Determined to make his soup “perfect” he trudges out into the snow in search of a carrot. He goes to see the farmer and asks for one. The farmer is happy to oblige but has a stack of wood that needs to be moved so he can use it to build a barn. Murray can have the carrot if he moves the stack of wood. Murray, being a clever mouse, asks a horse to help him transport the wood. The horse will help if Murray can get him some fancy jingle bells. The book continues in a “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” fashion until Murray’s desperate search dead-ends in frustration and little hope for getting his carrot.
Meanwhile, all throughout the story, a friendly snowman (who is conspicuously without a carrot nose) tries to get Murray’s attention. But Murray is too fixated on getting his carrot to notice. The snowman approaches Murray, who is sitting in a snow bank, sadly convinced that he will never get his carrot to finish his “perfect soup.” The kind snowman offers a solution, asking for nothing in return. Murray is shocked and delighted at his generosity and quickly goes about fulfilling the wishes of the people he met in the story until at last, the farmer gives him his long-awaited carrot.
The story ends with a picture of Murray and the snowman sitting down to a hot bowl of not-so-perfect soup.
The soup may not have a carrot, but the snowman’s face does.
This children’s book is a delightful narrative about the value of friendship and the importance of perspective. Christian parents can also use this wonderful story as a foray into the complex concept of grace: getting something for nothing. Jesus, like the snowman, gives us something we did not earn or pay for (our salvation). And, like the snowman, Jesus is waiting to help – seeking after our hearts and our attention. Unfortunately, we are often too busy rushing about trying to solve our problems without Him.
Talk About It
Here are some wonderful reflection and discussion questions you can use during or at the end of reading this story with your children:
- What do you notice about the snowman?
- Why doesn’t Murray see the snowman?
- What did the snowman give Murray? What did he want in return?
- What is the difference between a free gift and one with “strings” attached?
- Are there any gifts that God has given you that are free?
- How did Murray show friendship to the snowman?
- How did the author show that love is better than perfection?
- Does Jesus want us to be loving or perfect?