When you’ve read as many children’s picture books as I have, it is difficult to be surprised. Perfect Soup surprised me. It’s a very cold day and Murray the mouse wants to make a perfect soup. Everybody knows that Perfect Soup has potatoes and corn and tomatoes and carrots. But Murray doesn’t have a carrot. To obtain the carrot he needs, Murray must complete a series of I’ll-scratch-your-back-if-you-scratch-mine tasks. Only one friend offers to help Murray without receiving anything in return, the snowman. Murray decides to give the not-easily-obtained carrot to his new snowman friend for a nose and share the Perfect Soup, despite its lack of carrotness, with the snowman.I like to be unexpectedly surprised. “’Farmer, will you please give me a carrot?’ asked Murray. ‘I need a carrot for Perfect Soup.’Farmer leaned on his pitchfork. ‘I reckon I’d give you a carrot if you hauled some logs from the timber. I need wood to build a barn.’Murray thought about his soup. He liked things perfect. ‘You will have your wood!’ said Murray.