Pumpkin Soup is a fall favorite for the story and illustrations. It also leads well to talking about friendship and working together when not everyone agrees.


Three friends, Cat, Squirrel, and Duck live together and make pumpkin soup every day. Everyone has their own jobs to do and everyone is happy until one day when Duck decides he wants to change jobs. The animals argue and Duck leaves. As the day goes by, Cat and Squirrel start to get worried about their friend. When the three are reunited, they agree to try something new.

Read Aloud Questions

Before Reading

  • Have you ever had pumpkin soup? Did you like it or if not, do you think you would?
  • What animals do you see on the cover? What do you think this story will be about?
  • Would you share soup with your friends the way the animals are on the cover?

During Reading

  • What is the job of each character in the story?
  • Why do you think Duck wants to change jobs?
  • Why isn’t the soup tasty after Duck leaves?

After Reading

  • Is there a better way Duck could have tried to solve his problem?
  • Do you think the animals should keep the jobs they started with or trade?
  • Are the animals good friends? Why do you think so?

Connecting Standards to Pumpkin Soup


After reading the story use the Somebody – Wanted – But – So – Then strategy to check for comprehension. This is easiest using the Duck but could be done for each character.


The vowel team “ou” is in the word soup but that letter combination does not always make the same sound. This can be confusing when students are first learning to read. Give examples of the sounds ou can make: it makes the sound of oo in the word through, it makes the sound ow, in the word in soup, it makes the sound or in the word four, and it makes the sound uh in the word rough. Make a chart and have students brainstorm other words and sort them by the sounds the ou makes in each word.


When Duck leaves home, his friends worry that different things might have happened to them. Assess how well your students can recall details by having them write about his friends think may have happened to him.

Pumpkin Soup Vowel Teams
Pumpkin Soup Alphabetizing
Pumpkin Soup How To Writing

More Fun with Pumpkin Soup

Most students have never had pumpkin soup. You might want to try to make crockpot pumpkin soup in your classroom. There are lots of recipes but here is a recipe that only uses five ingredients, you can prep most the night before, and only takes four hours to cook. It is a great authentic way to introduce procedural writing too.

If you’re looking for fun no-prep activities for this book, check out the Learning Through Literature Pumpkin Soup book companion in the Resource Ranch store.

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Rhonda is the author of Resource Ranch. Most of her classroom experience has been in early elementary. She has also taught Title I Reading, ESL, and gifted students. She is certified as a Texas teacher in grades 1-8 and as a K-12 librarian.