Title: Stone Soup Author: Jon J Muth Illustrator: Jon J Muth Publisher: New York; Scholastic Press
Genre: Traditional Literature Level: Beginner Number of pages: 30 Pub. Date: 2003
The classic tale of stone soup set in China. Three monks are traveling around China when they happen on a village that had experienced many hard times. When they get to the village none welcomes them and the monks decide that they should make stone soup. A young girl curious in the monks asks them what they are doing and borrows her mother’s big pot to help the monks. The idea behind the soup is that everybody adds something and by putting together resources everybody gets a wonderful meal.
Many times this story is a fable because it teaches a wonderful lesson that through sharing everyone becomes richer and the main characters are animals. This version of the story is told using human monks but I would still consider it a fable because of the moral/universal that it teaches. Either way the story would be wonderful for a read aloud, a characteristic of a high quality literature.
One of my favorite parts of this adaptation are the author’s notes at the end of the book. They explain some of the decisions that Muth made. I particularly enjoyed his decision to paint the little girl in yellow, a color for royalty, to show her importance in this book. This would also be a good way to talk about the culture of China.
After: Students will each bring in one ingredient to make “stone” trail mix, teacher will provide the stone that has already been sanitized. Then class will discuss sharing.
Recipe for spicy chickpea trail mix (nut free) http://www.grouprecipes.com/84392/spicy-chickpea-trail-mix.html