“Perfect Picture Book”- Friday

“Stone Soup”

Retold and Illustrated by:  Jon J Muth

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.


About Diane Tulloch

Known also as the Patientdreamer I am a writer who loves to dream, and is passionate about writing stories for the young so that they may join me in the wonders of adventure in countries and cultures afar, and in special moments to remember.
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21 Responses to “Perfect Picture Book”- Friday

  1. I love the story of Stone Soup and am excited to see a different twist on it – I’d really like to read this version. I think it would be neat to pair it with the original and see how the two are similar and different – what elements of the story are essential enough to stay the same, and what parts are different and how does that make the story experience different. Thanks so much for adding this one to our list! 🙂

    • Hi Susanna, I am so pleased you like the choice I made. I wasn’t sure about it since I had never heard of it before. But it took my eye and I was curious about the story, along with the multi cultural flavour, it was the pick for me.

  2. Catherine Johnson says:

    This one looks beautiful. Thanks Diane!

  3. Stone Soup was a favorite with my daughter. I’m happy to see an eastern twist on the story. I like Jon Muth’s work and I’m sure this one is captivating. Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a unique take on a familiar tale. Thanks for sharing, Diane!

  5. Darshana says:

    I keep hearing about the Stone Soup but have never read it. Thanks for reviewing this book. I will definitely have to check it out as well as the original version.

  6. Carrie Finison says:

    This looks like a great twist on the Stone Soup story. Nice review, Diane. I will look for this one.

  7. Amy Dixon says:

    This looks like a really interesting spin on the Stone Soup story! Thanks so much for sharing, Diane!

  8. Diana, John J Muth is one of my favorites. He illustrated I WILL HOLD YOU TIL YOU SLEEP, which makes me tear up every time. I had no idea he’d done a new take on STONE SOUP. Thank you, thank you!

    • Oh my! Kirsten just the title of that book would have me teary eyed. I must look out for that one. Thankyou for letting me know. Glad I was able to share something for you.

  9. clarbojahn says:

    Another John Muth is my PPBF of last Friday “Come on! Rain!” In which he won an award for his illustrations. I’ll have to get this version of “Stone Soup” out of the library and check it out. (yep, I did say that. lol )

  10. lol…. Oh I thought I remember seeing his name somewhere and I checked the list first but of course I could not remember the title of the book you reviewed… LOL…. glad to be of help. Thanks Clar.

  11. I have seen many versions of tis story and I like them all! This one sounds great!!

  12. You too! I can’t believe how many people already know this story! It is a wonderful story Erik. So glad you liked my choice.

  13. Thank you so much, Diane! I smiled when I saw you had chosen this book…and I’m thrilled because it is a version I didn’t know. I love the resource/activities you provided…what a great school unit this could be. 🙂

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