Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Maybelle in the Soup

Maybelle in the Soup

Katie Speck
Illustrator:  Paul Ratz de Tagyos 
Fiction  Series
For ages 5 to 7
Henry Holt , 2007   ISBN: 978-0805080926

Maybelle the cockroach has a nice cozy safe home under the refrigerator in Mr. and Mrs. Peabody’s house. The Peabodys are very particular people who like everything to be “JUST SO,” which means that they will not tolerate dust, mess, or bugs. Maybelle therefore has to keep a low profile as she knows that she cannot afford for the Peabodys to find out that she is living in their home.

   Though the Peabodys were very neat and clean people, they did drop crumbs and spill things every so often and Maybelle therefore always had plenty to eat. The problem is that Maybelle is tired of eating “crumbs and spills.” For a change she would love to eat “tasty leftovers on a plate.” Her friend Henry the flea (who lives on the Peabody’s cat) warns Maybelle that she cannot afford to be seen. If the Peabodys find out that Maybelle is in residence, they will call the Bug Man and then Maybelle will be in real trouble. Henry tells his friend that they have “to make the best of what we have.” He has to settle for living and dining on a cat, and Maybelle has to be content to eat crumbs and spills.

   Unfortunately, Maybelle’s hankering for a real meal gets the better of her. She sneaks out when the Peabodys are entertaining and tries to get a taste of the soup that is being served for dinner. She ends up falling in the soup, is seen by one of the guests, and chaos ensues. The Peabodys, much distressed and embarrassed, decide that they need to call the Bug Man.

   In this deliciously funny story we meet Maybelle, whose passion for food gets her into a great deal of trouble. She and her friend Henry end up going on an adventure that positively bristles with dangers. Children are going to love the two main insect characters in this story who are staunch friends and allies in a world that is so anti-bug.