soup of the day: mini racer by kristy dempsey and bridget strevens-marzo!

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!

Vrrrroooommm vrrrrrooooooooomm!!

It’s time for the coolest race ever, brought to you by Kristy Dempsey and Bridget Strevens-Marzo. Their brand new picture book, Mini Racer, is officially out today!

Get ready for a rip-roarin’, rollicking ride — up and down, over and around, right straight through and out the other side. No ordinary racers here, but twelve speed-lovin’ animals burning rubber with their customized, all terrain, incredible (sometimes edible) vehicles.


Ready, steady; green light. GO!
Mini Racer won’t go slow.

Out the gate and down the hill,
jump a speed bump, show your skill!

Kristy’s lively rhyming couplets steadily ramp up the excitement and suspense from start line to satisfying finish. Readers will easily get caught up in the thrill-a-minute fun, wanting to “push the pace,” veer, careen, “build up speed,” swerve, slide and ZOOM! SCREECH!


Bridget’s lively, winsome menagerie with their coordinating vehicles — everything from a giraffe in a Jeep, to a cheese-riding mouse, chimp on a banana, rabbits in a carrot, and a team of owls in a hollowed-out log — makes this particular race twelve times more engaging. Little ones will love rooting for their particular favorites as they bump and speed along the twisty, curvy course through town and countryside.

Of course I’m partial to the racers with edible vehicles, especially the mouse, who decides to eat part of his Swiss cheese car at a pit stop (I love resourceful rodents) and the bear who’s toting his personal beehive (sweet fuel). The level of detail will keep young eyes poring over the illustrations for hours, as they look for red, yellow and green flags, and keep a special eye on the one and only mini racer, a snail on a skateboard (he starts out at the back of the pack, but keeps up a steady pace throughout). Will he win the race? Or will it be those dastardly handsome dalmations? Or the gators in the stretch limo? “Beep, beep, beep!”

alphabet soup kitchen helpers construct their own edible vehicles.

Cornelius oversees construction of a cookie car.

So far, Mini Racer has earned a *starred review* from School Library Journal, and a glowing review from Kirkus, who liked how the creatures’ emotions (frustration, panic, disappointment) came across clearly: “full of zooming action and fender-bender drama, it has definite appeal for youngsters.” A perfect read-aloud, Mini Racer is sure to be a runaway hit with both kids and short adults, who will never look at a piece of cheese the same way again.

Now, are you ready to wave your checkered flags for Kristy and Bridget? The alphabet soup kitchen helpers have created a mini racecourse around the rim of today’s soup bowl. You are encouraged to zoom around a few times before filling up your tank. Dip your spoons deeply and slurp loudly at least twelve times before joining the Pit Stop Party!

Today’s Special: Speedy Soup (a custom high-octane blend guaranteed to keep your motor hummin’).

Besides soup, we’re serving up a few extra treats in honor of some of the animal racers. Pepperoni pizza for the gators:

The Med Boulder/flickr

A cheese platter for that hungry Mouse:


Honeybee cupcakes for the bear:


Carrot cake and carrot cookies for the bunnies:


C bonbon cookie/flickr

and of course we must honor that adorable snail:



After you’re all fueled up, race down to your local indie or click through to your fave online bookseller to score your very own copy of Mini Racer. If you go to a bricks and mortar store, dress up as your favorite animal character (cat, rabbit, dog, giraffe, chimp, owl, mouse, snail) and take a few laps around the tables and shelves before approaching the register. Bring a carrot or banana for the cashier to earn a special discount, and don’t forget to say the secret word: SPEED. With your new book in hand, you’re the ultimate winner!


Thanks for creating a great book, Kristy and Bridget. Full speed ahead!

by Kristy Dempsey
illustrated by Bridget Strevens-Marzo
published by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, February 2011
Full color picture book for ages 4-8, 32 pp.
Cool themes: animals, humor, persistence, competition, racing, vehicles


♥ Kristy Dempsey’s website and LJ blog, Reverie — Abstract Musings on a Hopeful Life.

♥ Bridget Strevens-Marzo’s website and blog.

♥ Recent interview with Kristy at Write Wild.

♥ Read about Kristy’s inspiration for Mini Racer and enter to win a copy at Thing 1 and Thing 2!

To be honest, I’m still craving a little cheese:

Uh-oh. Looks like somebody beat me to it:

Little Ted gets the red flag for copying the Mouse and eating his car.

*Spreads posted by permission, text copyright © 2011 Kristy Dempsey, illustrations © 2011 Bridget Strevens-Marzo, published by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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