The Real Story of Stone Soup

The Real Story of Stone Soup

Book - 2007
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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.
Publisher: New York : Dutton Children's Books, c2007.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780525474937
0525474935
Branch Call Number: j 398.2094 GERMANY GRIMM st
Characteristics: 1 volumes : color illustrations ; 24 x 28 cm.
Additional Contributors: Jorisch, Stéphane
Alternative Title: Stone soup.

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FindingJane Mar 19, 2017

I know this tale as one of a trickster getting a meal out of a grasping miser and a mysterious traveler bringing together a starving village grown tight fisted and mean because of a drought. There’s also one featuring hungry soldiers using nails and another with a beggar who utilizes buttons. So it was a treat to read yet another version about a superior uncle and the supposedly lazy boys who make a delicious soup using only stones.

The story shows the sly boys turning the tables on the narrator, a man they call Uncle. You don’t know whether it’s in deference to his age or whether he’s their real uncle and it doesn’t matter. He thinks they are indolent, stupid and disrespectful. What they think of him remains unspoken but the illustrations display their wily, sidelong glances and hidden smirks as the boys get him to work for them by flattering him, being abrupt or seeming to take his advice. Clearly, they play a trick on the old man and he’s none the wiser.

The illustrations are by Stéphane Jorisch. I remember his work from “Jabberwocky” in the Visions of Poetry series. Those illustrations were borderline bizarre, with angular nearly headless people who looked more like store mannequins set in a world of outsize television sets and bizarre trees and a vorpal sword that resembled a feather duster more than a weapon. Here the illustrations are more realistic. They show the Chang brothers in native dress, while their Uncle chops stout bamboos stalks into bowls as men punt their low fishing boats in the distance.

Native language enhances the story as well as the clever illustrations and the book comes with a recipe at the end! So if you want to try your hand at this soup, read this book and keep your stones in your pocket.

ripplebliss Mar 30, 2011

Excellent book! The illustrations are so fun and expressive - and they are such an important part of understanding the "true" story! A funny, imaginative and very well-written spin on a traditional tale.

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