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Stone Soup

An award-winning artist adds a Zen twist to a favorite tale. As three monks travel along a mountain road, they encounter villagers ravaged by harsh times, making them cold to strangers. When the monks entice them to make soup from stones, the villagers discover how much they have to give. Full color.
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About the Author

Jon J Muth has written and illustrated many enchanting picture books, including his Caldecott Honor Book Zen Shorts and its sequel, the New York Times bestselling picture book Zen Ties. Other beloved titles from Jon include the New York Times bestseller Hi, Koo!, The Three Questions, Gershon's Monster by Eric Kimmel, and The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson. Mr. Muth lives with his wife and their four children in New York.


PreS-Gr 3-Jon Muth's handsomely re-imagined traditional folktale (Scholastic, 2003) about building trust and community is set in a small Chinese village. Here the people have become distrustful and selfish and close their doors not only to strangers but to each other. The arrival of three monks, the promise of soup from a stone, and the bravery of a young girl reunites the community. The story comes to life in this iconographic production that creates the illusion of movement and allows viewers to focus on particular elements of Muth's rich watercolor illustrations (e.g., the young child's yellow jacket). BD Wong's even tone ideally complements the images and enhances the tale. An interview with the author/illustrator provides even greater insight into his work, his recasting of Stone Soup, and his interest in Asian art. A worthy addition to children's collections.-Maria Salvadore, formerly Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"[Muth's] His respect for Chinese people and their culture makes this serving of fusion cuisine delicious and satisfying" -Horn Book "Muth's characteristic watercolor illustrations. . . are expertly done and convey a distinct sense of place." -School Library Journal "Delicious and satisfying." -- The Horn Book * "With the same aesthetic grace he displayed with Tolstoy's The Three Questions, Muth here transports a classic tale to rural China. The setting not only allows his evocative, impressionistic watercolors to play over mist and mountains but also affords an opportunity for Buddhist underpinnings. ... And while the tale of "Stone Soup" can be told to make fools of the villagers, here it becomes an offering as generous as Muth's villagers turn out to be. -- Publishers Weekly, starred review Three wandering Buddhist monks investigate the nature of happiness by feeding the wary, selfish inhabitants of a Northern Chinese village soup made from three stones. Sound vaguely familiar? Muth sets his version of the well-known European folktale in the early years of Qing Dynasty China. Wars and famines have made the villagers justifiably reluctant to welcome strangers, even monks, and so suspicious they hoard food from one another. Muth's muted blue-and-gray watercolors are ideally suited to portraying the inhospitable village, swathed in mountain mists, as well as the appealing girl in her bright yellow jacket who breaks the ice and draws the other villagers from behind their locked doors to contribute ingredients to the soup. Carrots and onions are followed by cabbages, pea pods, noodles, mushrooms, dumplings, bean curd, cloud ear and mung beans, winter melon, taro root, ginger, soy sauce and lily buds--a mouthwatering celebration of Chinese cooking. The monks' effort at community development triumphs as the villagers happily feast together at one very long table, then watch a shadow puppet play accompanied by music played on traditional Chinese instruments. In a detailed author's note, Muth explains how he meshed "the Buddha story tradition, where tricksters spread enlightenment rather than seeking gain for themselves" with a story rooted in European folklore. His respect for Chinese people and their culture makes this serving of fusion cuisine delicious and satisfying.--Horn Book, March 2003 Muth has taken this old tale and transplanted it from its traditional European setting to China. The tricksters are no longer hungry travelers or soldiers but Buddhist monks. Their goal in fooling the villagers is not to fill their own stomachs but rather to enlighten them about the happiness that comes from sharing. Muth's characteristic watercolor illustrations, with their striking use of misty hues contrasted with bright primaries, are expertly done and con

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