Published by: Scholastic Press
Age: 4 years and over
Theme: Co-operation, giving, happiness.
Opening Line: Three Monks, Hok, Lok, and Siew, travelled along a mountain road. They talked about cat whiskers, the colour of the sun, and giving.
“What makes one happy, Siew?” asked Hok, the youngest monk. Old Siew, who was the wisest, said, “Let’s find out.”
Synopsis: As mentioned on the flap… The monk’s journey along a mountain road trying to understand what makes one happy. At once they encounter frightened villagers who lock their windows and darken their homes. The villagers have long been ravaged by harsh times, and their hearts have grown hard toward everyone they meet. But when the monks cleverly entice them to make soup from stones, the villagers discover how much they each have to give… and how much more comes back in return. With magnificent watercolours that invite reflection of deeper meaning, Jon J Muth combines his love of Zen Buddhism and Eastern culture with a favourite old trickster tale that celebrates the power of generosity.
The Authors previous picture books have met with widespread acclaim. The Three questions, received two starred reviews, and New York Times Book Review called it “quietly life-changing. Received gold Medal from the society of Illustrators for Come On Rain by Karen Hesse. Has also written and illustrated award-winning comic books published in both Japan and the USA.
Why I like it: There are many versions of this story, from the 1947 picture book by Marcia Brown which featured soldiers and won a Caldercott Medal, to a Canadian writer Aubrey Davis jewish adaption for Hanukkah. Whatever the version it speaks about giving and that generosity, no matter how small, can bring about friendship. I love the cross culture references that Jon makes and the beautiful soft water coloured illustrations.
Findings/Resources: Here are some printable plans and worksheets to use for teaching and discussion. http://printables.scholastic.com/printables/detail/?id=39415
Another printable discussion tool to use with children by Scholastics…. http://printables.scholastic.com/printables/detail/?id=39415
An interesting interview of Jon Muth of his bio…. http://printables.scholastic.com/printables/detail/?id=39415
Amazing what we come across when researching about books we review…. I came across a delightful Stone soup Magazine website by children for children…. http://www.stonesoup.com/
For more books with resources please visit the lovely author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with the books reviewed by many authors.