Maurice Sendak is perhaps most famous for Where the Wild Things Are but he wrote many other books as well. Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months is a book from my childhood. I don’t have any specific memories of it being read to me but I remember it being about while growing up. When my first daughter was born my Mom passed our tiny, battered, dog chewed copy on to me. As soon as I opened the cover, the sing song nature of the book and the refrain of “….chicken soup with rice” came rushing back to me.
Chicken Soup with Rice is a rhyming book that teaches the months of the year starting with January, where you sip chicken soup with rice while sliding on the ice. February celebrates a snowman anniversary with cake and soup. In March the wind blows the soup upon the floor. April leads to travels far away and dreaming about soup. In May, soup is concocted in a bird’s nest. June roses need pepping up with chicken soup. In July, chicken soup is selling cheap in the deep sea. August is so hot why not become a cooking pot, cooking soup of course! September’s travels take one down the chicken soupy Nile. October’s host serves witches soup on toast. November’s gusty gales finds a whale spouting soup. December is celebrated with a Christmas tree draped in soup bowls.
I have since read this story to my children so many times I have it memorized. When traveling they will often ask me to recite it if we haven’t brought a book for bedtime stories. Sometimes they will stay quiet as I go through the story and other times they chime in with me, especially on the refrain. When quoting from memory I will occasionally mess up and they will correct me. I think it’s a combination of the sing song rhythm and the fun pictures Maurice Sendak paints in your head, such as drinking soup while ice skating or watering roses with chicken soup, that has made this an enduring classic. This is an excellent read aloud book and I strongly suggest it for any child’s library.
I told you once, I told you twice, all seasons of the year are nice for eating chicken soup with rice!