Sunday, August 2, 2009

Children's Book: Stone Soup

Jon J. Muth's community-building Stone Soup is my favorite version of this tale. Set in China, three monks, Hok, Lok, and Siew are roaming about the misty mountain paths, come across an insecure village made weary by war, famine, and floods. The monks start a pot of stone soup in the village square and the villagers respond, first with curiosity and then with generosity, to the subtly disguised lesson of cooperative spirit. Muth has filled this book with symbolism both in the story and in the illustrations.

In his informative author's note, Muth shares his inspiration for this book,
There have always been Zen poet monks wandering through cloud-embraced mountains, and it seems to me they must have at least once found a village with sad houses and done just what Hok, Lok, and Siew have done here.
At Nurture we have just started a small pot of stone soup; it is not quite boiling. Come by for a bowl and fill your community spirited heart.

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