ISBN 0375810870 - This is one time I hate to give a book five stars, because a five star romance novel is not the same as a five star classic and neither is the same as a five star kids' book. Five star kids' books are much more important, and there are a lot of them. Mud Soup, for me, stands a little above those. Pretend you can see six stars.
Rosa loves mud soup, it's delicioso! Her friend Josh is stuck with a somewhat soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but Rosa has hot, yummy soup. When she offers to share, he is overcome by the idea of "mud" soup. Even though he doesn't want to hurt Rosa's feelings, he doesn't take her up on her offer. This scenario plays out more than once as the kids play together, when Josh rides past Rosa's house one day and at school on International Day. Rosa finally reveals that there is no mud in mud soup and Josh discovers that mud soup is, indeed, delicioso!
Living in world that's getting smaller all the time, knowing a second language is slowly becoming more of a requirement for success as an adult. If that all starts when they're little, Mud Soup is a nice, simple and small step toward that end. Introducing just three small Spanish words (abuela = grandmother; delicioso = delicious; si = yes) keeps it easy for young readers, allowing for a slow introduction.
Equally importantly, Mud Soup reinforces the old saying "don't judge a book by its cover", with delicious soup that looks like mud and teaches children to be open to new things and other cultures. AND it teaches consideration for the feelings of others, by having Josh very clearly not want to hurt Rosa's feelings every time he rejects her offer. That's a lot to pack into such a small book, but Mud Soup pulls it off.
The illustrations are okay, nothing spectacular, but nice enough. While the book is marked "Step 3, Reading on Your Own", I think this is one well worth talking over with your child when s/he finishes. Have that conversation over soup - there's a recipe for Mud Soup on the last page! Delicioso!