“Jorisch’s bright watercolors cleverly extend the story, which, with dashes of humor and delightfulclassroom extensions, should satisfy kids and teachers alike.”—Kirkus Reviews
The Real Story of Stone Soupby Ying Chang Compestine, Stephane Jorisch
A stingy fisherman always makes his three young helpers do all his work. One day he scolds the “lazy boys” for forgetting to provide lunch. “Don’t worry,” they say. “We can make stone soup.” The boys dig a hole and fill it with water and “flavored” stones. They trick the fisherman into making bowls and
A stingy fisherman always makes his three young helpers do all his work. One day he scolds the “lazy boys” for forgetting to provide lunch. “Don’t worry,” they say. “We can make stone soup.” The boys dig a hole and fill it with water and “flavored” stones. They trick the fisherman into making bowls and chopsticks, and fetching salt and sesame oil. While he’s busy, they stir in bird eggs, add wild vegetables, and slip fish into the soup. By the time the old man returns, they have a feast fit for a king. To this day, “Egg Drop Stone Soup” is a traditional dish in southeast China. A recipe is included.
Tongue-in-cheek humor peppers this original tale that incorporates the stone-soup motif but is based on a Chinese legend instead of the European folktale. A fisherman complains that the three boys he has hired to work on his boat are "somewhat stupid" and "lazy" even though the illustration reveals that he is lounging at the stern while the boys toil. At lunchtime he barks out orders, "Ting! Gather firewood. Pong! Prepare the cooking pot and clean the fish." The cooking pot is missing, however. Undaunted, the young lads dig a hole in the sand for cooking and throw a "fish stone," an "egg stone," and a "vegetable stone" into a nearby fire. They distract their employer by asking him to make bamboo bowls and chopsticks while they add the real ingredients to the sand pot. When the rocks are added to the soup, the food floats to the surface. The unpleasant employer then claims that he can make soup from stones, but it is clear from the illustrations that the villagers know he's been fooled. The watercolors are in eye-catching shades of blue, green, and yellow, and are filled with motion and humor: a monkey imitates the jaunty walk of the fisherman, and pen-and-ink drawings meticulously detail whiskers and hair. However, the boys' faces appear stereotypically round, with slanted eyes that seem exaggerated. An additional purchase.
Kirsten CutlerCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Meet the Author
Ying Chang Compestine grew up in China. She is the author of cookbooks for adults and children’s books that introduce Chinese culture and food, including The Real Story of Stone Soup. She lives with her family in California.
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