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A heartwarming tale

Capture the kids’ imaginations and nurture their social awareness with this sweet story about a boy who loses his smile and finds it again helping others.

front book cover of Ten Thousand Bowls of Soup by Ross Frowen illustrated by Pip Morris

Ten Thousand Bowls of Soup is a real labour of love by Stroud local Ross Frowen who was inspired by his son to write this, his first foray into children’s literature. And what a beautiful homage it is!

illustrations of hippo, walrus, crocodile and boy and dog and football

Written from the heart, it starts with Henry, a happy, funny-looking boy, whom Frowen describes with a clever kind of reverse anthropomorphism: Hen’s smile is as big as a walrus’s, as toothy as a crocodile’s and wider than a hippopotamus’s, while his eyebrows crouch on his face “like caterpillars which dance and bump their noses when he laughs”. Local artist Pip Morris has lots of fun with these descriptions with the sweetest illustrations that will make you and your small people go “ahhh”.

animal illustrations

But back to that walrus/hippopotamus/crocodile smile, which, BASH!, poor Henry suddenly loses one day colliding with his dog Tatty as they try and catch a football.

Henry and Tatty colliding

The story then moves on as Henry leaves home to go and help the migrants he’s seen washing up on the shores of Lesbos. There he rediscovers his smile helping the people fleeing to Europe in search of a better life, where “though the camp was cold and darkness fell, they were warmed by laughter, smiles and dancing, and ten thousand bowls of steaming soup” *choke*.

illustration of open fire people and a monkey sitting round laughing

This really is a lovely book in so many ways, not least because all the profits are being donated to Médecins Sans Frontières. It comes with a CD narrating the story to music, a recipe for the vegetable soup and a massive ladle of good will.

boy and dog by the shore boat

The real Henry and Tatty at the River Dee in 2003

You can buy Ten Thousand Bowls of Soup by Ross Frowen, illustrated by Pip Morris, at The Yellow Lighted Bookshop in Nailsworth and TetburyStroud BookshopRasmachaz on the High Street in Stroud and The Green Shop, Bisley, or on Amazon

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