From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2–While versions of the story abound, most notably Marcia Brown's 1947 Caldecott winner (S & S), this lovely picture book is a truly worthy addition to most collections. The familiar plot plays out with only one soldier this time and it is the children of the town who are willing to help him. As the youngsters become more involved in the making of the soup, the soldier transforms page by page from a spear-carrying warrior to a man who looks very much like everyone else in town. The addition of a song will make interactive reading a pleasure as everyone can join in the catchy refrain, Stone Soup is what you need/When you have some friends to feed each time a character adds a little something to the pot. Hays's acrylic illustrations create a village that appears quite worn down, and the details are particularly effective. The artist's palette of muted greens and blues gradually takes on more color and life as the story–and soup–progresses. A note from the authors explains that this version of the story is set in 17th-century Germany.–Laura Eckley, Bronxville Public Library, NY
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K-Gr. 2. This earnest rendition of the classic tale is framed as a story-song and packaged with a CD (not reviewed). Hays uses details of costume and architecture to create a seventeenth-century European setting for the familiar story about charity: after adults respond with hostility to a weary soldier's plea for food, the man persuades the town's children to help him assemble ingredients for a big pot of soup--which eventually yields plenty for all to share. The chorus ("Stone Soup is what you need / when you have some friends to feed"), with musical notation, is tucked into the text to encourage listeners to sing along. The most receptive audience for this will probably be children who know the tale but haven't considered its import--which Seeger makes even clearer in an afterword. Otherwise, stick with Marcia Brown's Caldecott Honor Book, Stone Soup
(1948), or Heather Forest and Susan Gaber's lilting rendition (1998). John PetersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved