Friday, October 2, 2009

Soap, Soap, Soap by Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Today Winterville Writer hosts author/illustrator extraordinaire Elizabeth O. Dulemba on the final day of her blog book tour for her new book, Soap, Soap, Soap. Be sure to read this entire post to find out how you can win an autographed copy of the English only edition of Elizabeth's new book.

I first met Elizabeth at a Southern Breeze region of SCBWI SpringMingle writers' conference about four years ago. I was immediately impressed by her big, bold, colorful book illustrations. The kids she drew had personality. Lots of personality plus really big faces. Definitely my kind of illustrations. We chatted at the conference and I discovered that Elizabeth had studied Graphic Design at the University of Georgia in my home town of Athens. She has also lived in the Tennessee area where my mom and sister and family still live. Small world, for sure.

Something else I noticed about Elizabeth is her personality. It's a lot like her illustrations: bright, happy, fun. She's uses words like "GADS! and "Woosie!" and "Yip, Yip, Yahooooooo!!!!!" and "WooHoo!" and my favorite, WOWSA!!!

I'm going to borrow WOWSA!!! today to describe Elizabeth's new book. Soap, Soap, Soap, which was published September 25 by Raven Tree Press, is clean and boldly illustrated and, well, say it with me: WOWSA!!!

Before I tell you more about Soap, Soap, Soap, remember, I'll be giving away an autographed copy to one of my lucky blog readers. So read on to find out more about Elizabeth's new book and how to win a signed copy.

Now, on to the main event on Winterville Writer today: a review of Elizabeth O. Dulemba's Soap, Soap, Soap. Note: I am reviewing the English Edition, ISBN: 978-1934960-64-6 hardcover. There also is a Bilingual Edition: ISBN: 978-1934960-62-2 and paperback editions, too.

The Review

Soap, Soap, Soap, the first book award-winning illustrator Elizabeth O. Dulemba has both written and illustrated, is based on the classic Appalachian Jack Tale but features a modern twist. Dulemba sets the story in a small town and gives the title role to a young boy named Hugo.

The first thing a reader will notice about this book, which is written for children pre-K to 3rd grade, is the bold, bright colors the artist uses to introduce Hugo, along with a tub overflowing with bubbles and a cute yellow rubber duckie on the front cover. The back cover art features Hugo hanging by his overall strap on an old-fashioned clothesline.

Inside, the endpapers with yellow bars of soap, yellow duckies and soap bubbles are very attractive and lead the reader to the beautiful kitchen where Hugo's mom asks him to run to the store to buy soap. The artist uses graphite to draw the illustrations and renders them digitally. Both Hugo and his mom almost pop off the page, they look so alive. But my favorite part of this first two page spread is the cute brown and white dog (rumored to be Elizabeth's dog). This adorable canine takes in every word Mom says.

Hugo gallops through a school playground and past an attractive group of small town buildings on his way to buy soap. Along the way, he slides into a very large and wet mud puddle and forgets Mom's instructions. His neighbor, a little girl named Jellybean Jones, shows up then and offers to help, though the smirk on her face shows her thoughts might be otherwise. When Jellybean ends up in the mud, Hugo's memory is restored and he takes off again to buy soap at the store.

The rest of the story is easy to predict, which should suit young readers and listeners just fine. The writing is crisp and clear and written in language modern day kids will enjoy. They'll also like Hugo's stinkiness as he continues on his mission to procure soap. The ending is satisfying and clean and the soap bubbles and wink from the dog are just the right touch.

Now, if you'd like to win my copy of Soap, Soap, Soap (English only hardback edition), add a comment to this blog and be sure to use my favorite Elizabeth O. Dulemba word: WOWSA!!! at least once. No Wowsa, no name in book drawing. The drawing will be held October 6. Good luck! And don't forget to visit Elizabeth's Soap, Soap, Soap activity page where you can download neat stuff and even watch a book trailer.


  1. Wowsa! This book will certainly attract the eyes of any child. The bright colors and realistic images will make children smile and beg for more books from this author/illustrator.

  2. It sure would be nice to donate this book to the Winterville Library. I'll bet Lizz would say, "Wowsa!"

  3. Wowsa! What a colorful book and wonderful writing. I can just imagine a little boy getting distracted on his way to do an errand. Thank you, Donny, for recommending the book. You're a wowsa! Laurel

  4. I've met Elizabeth and you know what? She is definitely a wowsa kind of gal! So I'm not a bit surprised that her picture book is overflowing with bright colors and wowsa humor. "Soap, Soap, Soap" looks like tons of good, clean fun to me!


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