The Real Story of Stone Soup

The Real Story of Stone Soup

by 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

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A natural choice for folktale units.”—Booklist

“Jorisch’s bright watercolors cleverly extend the story, which, with dashes of humor and delightfulclassroom extensions, should satisfy kids and teachers alike.”—Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Compestine becomes the narrator of "the real story" of the legendary stone soup, speaking as the Chinese owner of a fishing boat who has hired the three lazy Chang brothers to work for him. Stopping for lunch, he is annoyed because the brothers have forgotten to bring a pot to cook in. Our fisherman continues his superior, sneering attitude toward Kuai, Ting, and Pong, as the brothers proceed cleverly to put together what is necessary to make the soup from the "magical" stones. Of course, from then on the fisherman always carries rocks in his pocket, although he has not had time to make the soup yet because he works "too hard already." It is obvious to the reader that he is a blow-hard, but that does not stop him from boasting that he invented "the real stone soup." Inked lines and transparent paints create the lively characters in the appropriate clothing—straw hats and bare feet of long ago China. Settings include sandy beaches, quaint wooden houses, typical fishing boats, and gossiping townsfolk. But the focus is on the three ingenious brothers and the comic storyteller. An "Author's Note" fills in the background of the legend of this traditional dish from southeast China, while the recipe for the Chang brothers' egg drop stone soup is included.
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3
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.

Kirkus Reviews
Acknowledging Western folklore's classic tale, Compestine bases her spry adaptation on a tribal legend encountered during travels in southeast China. A lazy fisherman who bosses three clever brothers unwittingly narrates his own deception by the boys-even as they cooperate to concoct a delicious soup on a sandy beach, sans forgotten cooking pot. Lining a hole with banana leaves, the boys start a fire and find: "a fish stone," "a fine vegetable stone," and-with "Uncle's" help-"a yummy egg stone," all of which are tossed in the fire. While Uncle is diverted by such tasks as making bamboo bowls and carving chopsticks, the boys dig wild onions and find a bird's egg, which join a fish in water set roiling by the hot stones. Uncle, none the wiser as to its complete contents, subsequently regales tittering villagers with "the secret of making stone soup" as the Chang boys smile wisely nearby. Jorisch's bright watercolors cleverly extend the story, which, with dashes of humor and delightful classroom extensions, should satisfy kids and teachers alike. (author's note, recipe) (Picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525474937
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
01/18/2007
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
576,303
Product dimensions:
10.78(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.36(d)
Lexile:
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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