Written in rhyme, they [Ankle Soup and Custard and Mustard] are great fun to read aloud, even if you don't have a child (read them to your dog instead). And the beautiful and vividly colored illustrations featuring a very fine looking fawn Frenchie, Carlos, capture the very essence of Frenchieness.Ankle Soup gives us a Frenchie's-eye view of the world, which must necessarily include a lot of ankles, and it's a good idea for all of us — big people as well as little ones — to check out that ten-inches-off-the-floor perspective from time to time.... Frenchies who have been to the Westminster show may feel a frisson of déjà vu as Carlos describes his encounters and the many sights and sounds in Grand Central. Carlos is an observant little guy, noting instances of beauty and kindness...
— Jan Grebe, PresidentThe French Bull Dog Club of America
Praise for Ankle Soup:
Review by Kirkus Discoveries 9/18/08
While crowds hustle and bustle on the busiest travel day of the year, an observant French bulldog named Carlos remarks on moments of kindness and beauty.
New York’s Grand Central Station is a buzzing place Thanksgiving Day. Lovers reunite, a man gives a beggar $20 in cash, triplet girls meet their grandmother, a Great Dane’s drool causes a small flood and a Seeing Eye dog maintains his focus amidst the chaos. While accompanying his mistress to meet “her sister and brother, / her sister’s beau, Scott, / and her Long Island mother” the precocious Carlos witnesses the festive bustle from ground level. After taking in the sights he asks readers not to forget the vertically challenged, reminding that even dogs can look beyond footwear to recognize the beauty in humankind: “Please try to see things / from my point of view. / Your ankles are nice but... / you’re more than a shoe.” Sullivan’s snappy rhymes are a joy to read aloud. She describes a range of diverse characters that parents will appreciate but keeps her prose playful enough to maintain the attention of the toddler set. Phrases like “Ay Caramba” and “gi-normous eyes” encourage children to have fun with language and dare them to invent words to describe vivid moments.Josephs’ bold and vivacious illustrations match the narrative. Throngs of people, mostly ankles, mill within New York’s center of transportation in deep hues of red, blue, yellow and green. The city is present on each page through glimpses of geographic and social landmarks: Coney Island, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, the Mets and F.A.O. Schwarz.
A rich, vibrant glimpse into Carlos the dog’s ankle-high experience on an American holiday.
“Custard and Mustard is a rollicking read, much like a ride on the famed Cyclone rollercoaster, it captures the unique character and thrill of the nation’s first amusement park—and America’s favorite playground—Coney Island, a place of buskers and hucksters, old salts and Carni-freaks, still just a subway ride away for New Yorkers, and now, available to readers everywhere by virtue of this wonderful book. Kudos to artist Alison Josephs and writer Maureen Sullivan for bringing the one and only Coney Island magically to life for the enjoyment of young and old alike. How sweet it is!”
— Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President
“Custard and Mustard is a huge hit with my first graders. As a teacher in the New York City public schools I am forever on the lookout for captivating children’s literature that highlights ‘The Big Apple’ and its surrounding neighborhoods. Custard and Mustard had my students literally bouncing in their seats with excitement as they revisited the places many of them know so well. They were tickled to search for Carlos, the French bulldog in the vibrant illustrations and drawn into the magic of Coney Island with each clever rhyme. What a terrific way to engage young readers! Custard and Mustard is an entertaining book that I will share with my students for years to come.”
— Gary Wellbrock, Educator
Custard and Mustard, what a wonderful way to introduce young people to one of our City's greatest landmarks!
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City
Custard and Mustard is a rollicking read, much like a ride on the famed Cyclone rollercoaster...
Marty Markowitz,Brooklyn Borough President
Ankle Soup is my most favorite book, ever.
Anna, 6 years old, Guilford, Ct.