Ankle Soup is a hardcover picture book about a French Bulldog named Carlos who finds himself in the middle of Grand Central Terminal on Thanksgiving morning. It's a read-aloud in rhyme geared to the 4-9 year old reader. Ankle Soup is in a New York state of mind as the people of the world pass Carlos on their way to their holiday destinations.
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Review by Kirkus Discoveries 9/18/08
While crowds hustle and bustle on the busiest travel day of the year, an observant French bulldog named Carlos remarks on moments of kindness and beauty.
New York’s Grand Central Station is a buzzing place Thanksgiving Day. Lovers reunite, a man gives a beggar $20 in cash, triplet girls meet their grandmother, a Great Dane’s drool causes a small flood and a Seeing Eye dog maintains his focus amidst the chaos. While accompanying his mistress to meet “her sister and brother, / her sister’s beau, Scott, / and her Long Island mother” the precocious Carlos witnesses the festive bustle from ground level. After taking in the sights he asks readers not to forget the vertically challenged, reminding that even dogs can look beyond footwear to recognize the beauty in humankind: “Please try to see things / from my point of view. / Your ankles are nice but... / you’re more than a shoe.” Sullivan’s snappy rhymes are a joy to read aloud. She describes a range of diverse characters that parents will appreciate but keeps her prose playful enough to maintain the attention of the toddler set. Phrases like “Ay Caramba” and “gi-normous eyes” encourage children to have fun with language and dare them to invent words to describe vivid moments. Josephs’ bold and vivacious illustrations match the narrative. Throngs of people, mostly ankles, mill within New York’s center of transportation in deep hues of red, blue, yellow and green. The city is present on each page through glimpses of geographic and social landmarks: Coney Island, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, the Mets and F.A.O. Schwarz.