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The Real Story of Stone Soup
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The Real Story of Stone Soup

By Ying Chang Compestine
Illustrated Stephane Jorisch
2007, 30 pages, Hardback.

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Book Description from the Front Cover Flap

You've probably heard the old folktale about stone soup, but do you know the real story, the one from China? It all started when I, a fisherman, hired those three Chang brothers to help on my boat. They're nice boys, but lazy-I always end up doing most of the work. One day when we stopped for lunch, I discovered that those potato heads had forgotten to bring the cooking pot! Now how were we supposed to cook? The boys started doing all kinds of crazy things. Kuai, the youngest, dug a hole in the sand and lined it with banana leaves. Ting and Pong built a fire next to the hole. I couldn't believe what they did next-they held stones up to their ears! They said the stones told them what they would become in the soup-fish, vegetables, or eggs.

I didn't know what they were babbling about, but I was so hungry by this time that I would eat anything, even a stone. After I carved soup bowls and chopsticks for all of us (I told you I do all the work), I came back to find a delicious soup waiting for me.

Ever since that day I have been sharing the secret of how I invented stone soup. If you don't believe me, read the story for yourself!

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Background on Ying Chang Compestine and Stephane Jorisch

Ying Chang Compestine grew up in China and now lives in California with her husband and son. She is the author of three cookbooks for adults and many children's books that introduce Chinese culture and food, including The Runaway Rice Cake and The Story of Noodles. This book was inspired by her trip to southeast China, where, according to legend, fishermen first created stone soup.

Ms. Compestine enjoys seasoning her stories with slapstick humor, a fast pace, mischievous boys, and recipes. You can visit her at

Stephane Jorisch was born in Brussels and grew up in Lachine, Quebec, near the St. Lawrence River. He spent much of his youth on the water, in anything that would float, and found it a great place to dream. It is no wonder, then, that he was drawn to this story set on a river.

Mr. Jorisch has illustrated several award-winning picture books and prefers to work in watercolor, gouache, and pen-and-ink. He now lives in Montreal with his wife and their three children.

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