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THE REAL STORY OF STONE SOUP by Ying Chang Compestine


by Ying Chang Compestine & illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-525-47493-5
Publisher: Dutton

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)