Stone Soup

Author/Illustrator: Marcia Brown

12,487 Ideas on PINTEREST to use with Stone Soup (slight exaggeration…)

This delightful story provided me with a fun teaching opportunity with my first graders every year.  While learning the difference between fiction and non-fiction books, I read them Stone Soup.  They agreed that surely no one would put stones in their soup, so of course it was fiction.  I proceeded to pull a (much-scrubbed) large stone from my reading apron pocket, put it in a crockpot, and add the ingredients from the following recipe.  I’m sure you could have heard a pin drop, as those little children’s eyes looked at me with both amazement and even a bit of shock.  Some child always ventured to ask, “Are we really going to eat that?”  I just smiled. . .   We went on with our day and several hours later the aroma began to fill the classroom and several more children asked about tasting our “soup.”  I just smiled…  Finally, I opened the lid and ladled out a helping for each child.  Yes, the rock stayed in the crockpot!  Our stone soup was a huge success, and it was unanimously decided that perhaps a story might be fiction and non-fiction at the same time!

Potato-Beef Soup (adding a stone is optional!)

2 lb ground beef  (cooked and drained)           4 cups water

4 cups  (cubed and peeled)                                 2 tsp salt

1 onion , chopped                                                  2 tsp pepper

3 cans (8 oz) tomato sauce                                 1 tsp hot pepper sauce

Put ingredients in crockpot on high for 3-4 hours or low for 5-6 hours.  (Remove stone before enjoying!)

 

From the Publisher

This old French tale about soldiers who trick miserly villages into making them a feast won a Caldecott Medal when Brown retold and illustrated it in 1947.

Three soldiers came marching down the road towards a French village. The peasants seeing them coming, suddenly became very busy, for soldiers are often hungry. So all the food was hidden under mattresses or in barns. There followed a battle of wits, with the soldiers equal to the occasion. Stone soup? Why, of course, they could make a wonderful soup of stones…but, of course, one must add a carrot or two…some meat…so it went. Marcia Brown has made of this old tale a very cheerful book, a carnival of activity, of dancing and laughter. So much goes on in the pictures that children who have once heard the story will turn to them again and again, retelling the story for themselves.

 

Because of Thursday

Thursdays have always been lucky for Annie Fetlock. She was born on a Thursday. She won her first cooking contest at the age of eight on a Thursday. She met the love of her life, Mario, on a Thursday. They were married on a bright Thursday afternoon and their two children were both born on a Thursday. Annie is known far and wide for her Poke Pasta Salad and has the most popular restaurant for miles around.

When Mario suddenly passes away, Annie’s joy and love of cooking disappears. Before too long, a little kitty appears and Annie takes the kitty in, and, of course, calls it Thursday. Annie is back making Poke Salad in no time. Thursday the cat is known for amazing twirls and tricks and one day his twirls land him in Annie’s draining rigatoni, causing the pot of hot oil, garlic, and peppers to spill into the pasta! Then the entire container of Parmesan cheese overturned into the mix. The customers were horrified until they noticed that what looked like a big mess had the most amazing aroma and turned out to be the most delicious pasta dish ever created! Ugly Pasta—the dish that would make Annie famous for miles around—was born. And of course it was a Thursday! 

Miss Rumphius

Author and Illustrator: Barbara Cooney

On a balmy day in Bath Maine, in July 1989, a soft-spoken woman with a snow white braid winding through her hair, became my friend. Her name was Barbara Cooney. Several of my teacher friends and I were attending a small conference of authors and illustrators.  Ms. Cooney was among them, exuding a presence of gentleness. When sharing her books with those attending, she would most often quote entire passages by heart, and with such enthusiasm and feeling that those of us listening sat in complete awe. Among those books was Miss Rumphius.

The story of Miss Rumphius is based on Ms. Cooney’s great-aunt.  Beginning as young Alice living by the sea, then traveling all over the world, and finally becoming “the Lupine Lady,” Miss Rumphius never forgot the admonition from her grandfather as a child. “You must do something to make the world more beautiful,” he had told her.  Planting a small garden of her beloved lupines by her house by the sea, she wonders just what that could be.

I have several reasons for choosing this book as one of my favorites. Having personally met the author was, of course, special.  That I adore fresh flowers in my home all the time and delight in the “Lupine Lady’s” act of  beautification – yes! But perhaps most of all is the root of the story; the grandfather’s admonition to make the world more beautiful. Why?  Because I can hear my own dear mother saying to me and my sisters as we were growing up, “Girls, always leave a  place better than you found it!” But that is a story for another time. . .

Please go buy some flowers, put them in a prominent spot, and just enjoy their beauty. Then curl up and read this lovely book and thank Miss Rumphius for making the world a little more beautiful.

Mary Byrne Kline

 

 

 

Book review: Charlotte’s Web

Author: E.B. White
Illustrator: Garth Williams

It’s ironic that I chose this book as one of my favorite children’s books, being that the heroine is the very thing I fear the most – a spider! And yet Charlotte has become a cherished friend over the years, more so with each reading of this endearing story.

As a first grade teacher, I gathered my students on the carpet after recess each afternoon and for weeks read this book aloud to them.  We sectioned off our room to make room for our (gallon milk cartons painted pink) “pigs,” and hung “spiders” from the ceiling. Why? Having grown up in Iowa, around farms, pigs, haylofts, and county fairs, I yearned for my students to gain an insight into this totally new world.  By the time we had finished the book, most of the kids were wanting pigs for pets. Wilbur had certainly become more than just “SOME PIG”  to them.  Even Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, learns about friendship. It is the story of the magic of childhood on a farm, of Fern, the little girl who understands the language between the animals.

Will Charlotte’s clever plan to save Wilbur’s life work? Let’s just say both the book and the ending are “TERRIFIC!”

 

Mary Byrne Kline