When the little old lady claims she has no food to give him, a hungry young man proceeds to make a soup with a stone and water.
The familiar folktale was first retold by McGovern in 1968. Now Pels has provided new pictures for this simple story about a young wayfarer who tricks an old woman into making him a hearty soup. When she refuses him food, he asks her for a pot of water. Then he puts a stone into it and waits for it to become stone soup. ``It's cooking fast now,'' says the hungry young man, ``but it would cook faster with some onions.'' Soon the old woman has added vegetables, meat bones, barley and butter, musing at the miracle of stone soup. She resembles Tenniel's Red Queen, and has pins and needles sticking in her back; the young man's arms and legs are jarringly angular. Perhaps Pels's idiosyncratic style is too somber for this funny story, making it unnecessarily dark. (3-7)