Stone Soup

Book review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Stone Soup Book Poster Image
Heartwarming folk tale teaches kids the joy of sharing.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

This classic folk tale teaches an essential lesson about sharing. It also teaches children to identify a variety of vegetables.

Positive Messages

Sharing food makes everything taste better.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The travelers deceive the townspeople, but they teach them a valuable lesson about sharing what they have.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Heather Forest's version of the classic folk tale "Stone Soup" is a faithful retelling of the story with the addition of a few engaging rhymes ("Bring what you've got! Put it in the pot!" etc.), and Susan Gaber's illustrations update the book by depicting a racially diverse village. This clever story teaches an essential lesson about the rewards of sharing. This is an important story about kindness to those less fortunate and sharing with our neighbors.

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What's the story?

In this retelling of the classic folk tale STONE SOUP, two poor travelers arrive in a town and go door to door, begging for food, but no one will share with them. The travelers then announce to the town that they need a large pot to make magical "stone soup." They fill the pot with water and drop in a stone. Then they tell the villagers the soup would be better if they had a carrot. A child volunteers a carrot, and then different people begin to offer what they have: a potato, a green bean, a turnip, etc. Soon the pot is full of simmering vegetable soup. The travelers have tricked the villagers into learning how sharing makes everything more delicious, and results in plenty of food for all.

Is it any good?

Stone Soup is a favorite with young kids, who enjoy the "tricky" aspect of the story as much as its important lesson. This version includes a few catchy rhymes that help drive the message home, and Susan Gaber's colorful, multiracial illustrations of the town and its inhabitants offer a fresh take on the classic story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sharing. Can you think of a time when sharing made your food taste better, or made a game more fun?

  • Why do the travelers tell the townspeople they are making "stone soup"?

  • Have a "Stone Soup" party with a couple of friends. Make something to share (with help from a grown-up), and ask your friends to bring food to share, too.

Book details

  • Author: Heather Forest
  • Illustrator: Susan Gaber
  • Genre: Folklore
  • Topics: Friendship
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: August House
  • Publication date: December 15, 2005
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 7
  • Number of pages: 32
  • Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
  • Last updated: March 4, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and fairy tales

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