Bone Soup

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Bone Soup Book Poster Image
Ghoulish Stone Soup is more fun than scary.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence & Scariness

The idea of some of the creatures may be frightening to some, but they are all pretty friendly.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this "spooky" tale is really not that spooky at all. The Halloween beasts, even the ghouls and werewolves, are pretty friendly-looking, though the cauldron of bone soup with its eyeballs, toenail clippings, and dried mouse droppings may turn a stomach or two.

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What's the story?

When the always-hungry Finnigin comes to town, the monsters hide out, with their food. Setting up a cauldron in the center of town and setting a bone to boil, he tricks them one by one into adding ingredients until they all have a ghoulish feast to enjoy.

Is it any good?

An eerie ghoulish skeleton about to slurp up an eyeball from a bubbling cauldron of bone soup is enough to capture any kid's interest. And that's only the cover. The story inside is a twist on the Stone Soup tale filled out with witches, werewolves, mummies, bats, and zombies that will simply take that interest and build on it to the end. Complete with its own recipe for Bone Soup -- advertised as a ghoulish goulash -- this is Halloween fun kids and their parents will enjoy.

Originally a French tale, the Stone Soup version retold by Marcia Brown won the 1947 Caldecott Award. This story has been a favorite for years and has been told in many ways, adapted to various times and places. Evans' retelling, with a bone not a stone and monsters rather than townspeople, is entertaining and a perfect Halloween tale for the younger set.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why the townspeople hid all their food when they heard Finnigin was on his way. How did he trick them into sharing with him? Why do you think they didn't think of it in the first place? What do you think about the soup he made? Do you think he was right when he said the soup was better when eaten with others? If you have read the original Stone Soup, how does this story compare? If you haven't, now might be a good time to dig out a copy and enjoy it too.

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