An unsatisfying blend of realism and fantasy that may confuse young children. Horace has had a bad day--including getting stepped on by a show-and-tell cow and riding home with Miss Pearl, who nearly kills three poodles on the way. He feels mean, so his sympathetic mother suggests that they make soup. She salts a pot of boiling water and then they take turns screaming into it and sticking their tongues out at it. Horace also bangs a spoon on the side of the pot while it boils on the stove (an unsafe practice) and, in a jarring departure from realism, he breathes ``his best dragon breath,'' at which point flames emerge from his mouth. At last Horace smiles. The text is appropriately simple and direct. The stylized gouache paintings are large and clear enough for group sharing. They are boldly colored, energetically composed, and sometimes offbeat and silly. The final scene depicts Horace and his mother ``stirring away the bad day,'' but their backs are to the readers, which unfortunately lessens the emotional impact.