Review: Quill Soup

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

Book Title: Quill Soup (available here)

Author: Alan Durant

Illustrator: Dale Blankenaar

Publisher: Tiny Owl

Publication Date: June 2019

Reviewed by: Jenny Holder, Reading Coordinator at Liverpool Learning Partnership

Quill Soup is part of Tiny Owl’s ‘One Story, Many Voices’ range, which presents familiar tales with a global twist. The range draws attention to the narrative similarities between stories from around the world. Quill Soup is an African version of the story many of us will know as Stone Soup.

In this version, Noko the porcupine has been travelling for a long time and is tired and hungry. He finds a small village where he thinks that he’ll be able to find food and shelter. However, the animals who live there are frightened of strangers and don’t want to share their food. Luckily Noko has a plan to encourage the villagers to share their food with him.

Quill Soup is a wonderful book for encouraging thought and discussion around concepts of sharing, friendship and compassion. It highlights the initial selfishness and ignorance of the village animals and shows the impact that an act of kindness can have on the whole community.

Alan Durant’s lovely retelling is accompanied by wonderfully vibrant illustrations by South African illustrator Dale Blankenaar. Younger pupils will enjoy spotting the different animals and describing their actions whilst older pupils can begin to consider how Blankenaar has used colour symbolically - showing the monochrome world of the porcupine and the multicolour village slowly mixing together throughout the story.

This is a stunning book in which you will spot something different from the illustrations every time that you pick it up! A must-have for traditional tale topics and PHSE collections in primary schools.


You can order Quill Soup online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Jenny for reviewing it.


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