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The Real Story of Stone Soup

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  111 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
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 sti ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 18th 2007 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
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Stone Soup by Ann McGovernBread and Jam for Frances by Russell HobanHow to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie PricemanPumpkin Soup by Helen CooperDelicious! by Helen Cooper
Young Children and Food
10th out of 18 books — 13 voters
Mo's Mischief by Hongying YangJackal and Wolf by Shen ShixiAlvin Ho by Lenore LookAn Unusual Princess. Wu Meizhen by Meizhen WuMo's Mischief by Hongying Yang
Chinese Juvenile/Young Adults books
20th out of 39 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

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Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Those Chang boys invented everything, according to author Compestine! They invented the kite, noodles, chopsticks, paper, and now, stone soup. The story is cleverly narrated by the lazy fisherman, and the difference between what he says and what the pictures show is really happening adds humor to the tale. I'm not sure, however, that it would be entirely clear to a young reader that the boys were playing a trick on the fisherman with the stones--making him believe that they produced the ingredie ...more
Shannon Stinnette
Feb 08, 2014 Shannon Stinnette rated it really liked it
This story is a variant folktale from the folktale many of us have heard, Stone Soup. This story is the Chinese version. It contains some of the same elements of trickery from the original version as well as the fact that soup is being made with stones. This version is different as the narrator is the one who is being tricked. The narrator in the story employs the Chang brothers to do work for him. He calls the boys lazy, but cheap labor. One afternoon while fishing they decide to dock their boa ...more
Robert Phillips
This book is about a fisherman who has three young boys do all his work for him. One day the fisherman said he was hungry and the boys said they would make "stone soup" for him. The kids say the stones are flavored and put them into a hole of water. The fisherman returns with other ingrediants and the stone soup is complete. This story is good to read in the classroom because "stone soup" is actually a dish in China and im sure no students in northern Minnesota would ever think this is real. Thi ...more
Oct 18, 2015 Courtney rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this Chinese folk tale when I was little. This story starts when a fisherman hires three brothers to work for him that he claims are lazy and don't want to work. One day they decide to dock the boat to eat lunch when they discover that they forgot the cooking pot and ingredients to make lunch. The three boys end up digging a hole in the sand for a pot and gathering nearby resources to prepare a meal. It ends up being the best stone soup they have ever had, even their uncles ag ...more
May 09, 2015 Sivyu rated it really liked it
Ying Chang Compestine. The Real Story of Stone Soup (2007). The motif the three round smooth stones and stone soup runs through many cultures. In this version, long ago in China a lazy fisherman called Uncle hires the 3 Chang brothers to help me on his fishing boat. One day the brothers forget the cooking pot and improvise by cooking soup in a hole in the ground lined with leaves. They set Uncle off doing tasks while they make a soup with three round stones. Each time they put in a stone, they s ...more
Sep 17, 2011 David rated it really liked it
The Real Story of Stone Soup by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch is a clever retelling of the classic tale, set in China and featuring a regional traditonal egg drop soup.

A stingy, lazy fisherman always makes his three young helpers do all the work. After scolding the "lazy' boys for forgetting to provide lunch, they announce that they 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 chopstic
Jun 24, 2013 Jan rated it it was amazing
Some old folktales can be found in varying forms around the world. Stone Soup is one of those folktales that has been retold in many ways and many places. This particular version takes place in China, with an amusing contraposition between the story told by the narrator and the story told by the pictures. The narrator is a fisherman who says he works constantly. But the pictures show the fisherman asleep while his boys (the ones he calls lazy!) labor all day, hauling in heavy nets of fish. The w ...more
The Styling Librarian
The Real Story of Stone Soup by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch – Folktale – I’m ridiculously excited to have Ying Chang Compestine visit Bradbury in a few weeks, her books are just fantastic. Loved reading this lovely twist to the stone soup story, especially since it was based off of true origins in China. Additionally, it is a wonderful read aloud. Next I’m reading her new novel, Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier that she wrote with her son.
Michael Fitzgerald
Feb 27, 2015 Michael Fitzgerald rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Nothing special.
Feb 26, 2014 Jordan rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this story. I liked the pictures just fine. It would take a careful observer (in the young audience) to notice what the 3 Changs are doing with the soup while the pompous, lazy fisherman is distracted by other task. I'm not sure if even the Book Time audience would catch on to the fact that the Chang brothers are truly the smart ones and not "sly" and "disrepectful" as the narrator fisherman keeps describing them. Still, a good one to consider for actually reading.
Apr 18, 2013 Michelle rated it liked it
The illustrations hold so much of the story, with great humor and detail--they make the book. The narrative voice is so off-putting at first I didn't know if I was going to be able to keep reading. I especially thought the name-calling unnecessary, and edited it out when reading aloud to my kids. But I really like the example of an unreliable narrator for kids, and also the new information about the origin of stone soup.
Jan 04, 2014 Kevin rated it it was amazing
I loved this story. I remember the classic tale of Stone Soup from childhood. I love the message it teaches. This tale adds a new spin with lots of humor. Love the illustrations. I think the kids will love this story.
Karina Espinales
Sep 11, 2012 Karina Espinales rated it really liked it
This is a folktale from the China subgroup. Only the English language is used throughout the book. The book is about an elderly man and his three helper boys who work together to make stone soup. The children can relate to the story because they sometimes help out their parents do the chores around the house. The story also teaches teamwork and how the children are supposed to respect their elders.
Oct 25, 2010 Carol rated it it was amazing
Filled with verbal irony, this Chinese folktale creates as much or even more humor that Marcia Brown's "Stone Soup." An egotistical fisherman who employs three young "lazy" boys is thrilled with the stone soup that they cook. Of course, he ends up supplying most of the ingredients. The result is the most delicious egg drop soup ever made. This book includes a real recipe.
Christina Bergstrom
Oct 30, 2011 Christina Bergstrom rated it really liked it
This was a very creative version of an old story. Who knows, maybe the Chinese legend is the real version of this story. The text is humorous and the illustrations give character to the text. As far as teaching goes, I believe that I would use this story to show that even with history, there are different versions of the same incidents.
Adriana Simmons
Jan 15, 2014 Adriana Simmons rated it liked it
Good incorporation of Chinese words...
Nov 30, 2012 Magila rated it liked it

I wanted to love this more than I did. The story was fun. Hearing the "real" story of stone soup was interesting. The little recipe at the book's end was a nice touch.

With so many picture books out there, this is a renter but I would probably not recommend buying it. The art was good.
Apr 11, 2010 Kathee rated it liked it
I think the kids at my school will get a kick out of this one. First because it takes place in China (we have a large Asian population). Second because they will laugh at the silly man who thinks he is smarter and works harder than the boys who come up with the idea of a stone soup.
Liked this one but didn't love it. I sat in while a third grade teacher read it to her class and the silliness is subtle enough that a lot of them didn't get it until they got a closer look at the pictures. The fisherman and his "lazy" nephews do provide a few giggles though.
Aug 06, 2007 Michael rated it liked it
Stone Soup is to storytelling what "Misty" is to Jazz, most tellers have their own version, and you better bring something new to the table if you want to be remembered. (You can see my version in my book "Connecting Boys With Books" from ALA Editions)

May 16, 2012 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
This is a great inversion of the stone soup story we're used to. The three workers and lazy master, the story elements, the drawings all blend well. And there is a recipe at the back of the book to make the book a whole experience.
Megan Skyrm
Nov 17, 2011 Megan Skyrm rated it really liked it
Shelves: math
This is a great story to use for talking about ordinal progression. It is also fun to compare all of the different tales of Stone Soup to see what is the same and what is different.
Jul 29, 2013 Annisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-books
This book is good.
It is fresh, simple and funny.
Easy to read, though it might be kinda hard for kids under 5 to grasp the twist.

Apr 21, 2012 Megan rated it liked it
This book tells the story of stone soup from China. it is a cute tale that can be used in the classroom for entertainment.
Loved the cute illustrations that accompanied this version of the story of stone soup. Couldn't help smiling.
Feb 06, 2012 Alison rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of the Stone Soup folktale
Shelves: picture-books
I like the version by John Muth best, but this version includes some interesting history and recipe at the back.
Oct 23, 2011 Debby rated it liked it
Somehow I believe the French version more...
Sep 20, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Cute story, but the people are so guly!
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Ying Chang Compestine was born and raised in China. The spokesperson for Nestle Maggi Taste of Asia products and a national authority on Chinese cuisine and culture, she is the author of three cookbooks for adults, eight picture books for children, and one young adult novel. She lives in California with her family.
More about Ying Chang Compestine...

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