Stone Soup by Marcia Brown: A Literature Unit Study

This post is part of the 31 MORE Days of Literature Unit Studies series. You can find all of the links to the thirty-one studies in this post. If you’d like to use these ideas to create your own unit study, this post has step-by-step instructions as well as a free unit study planner. (Want to know more about what, exactly, a unit study is? This post will help.)

While you’re reading and working on your unit study, you can dowload this free printables pack of graphic organizers for reading. It has a plot chart, venn diagram, KWL chart, two mini book report organizers, a character analysis chart, a plot outline chart, and a reading response sheet where students can record facts while reading.

Stone Soup unit study
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Stone Soup is a children’s book that is based on a folk tale that’s been around since the 1700s. The tale has been adapted and changed over the years, but author Marcia Brown has written a version that has become a kids’ classic. Although even younger kids can enjoy the book as a read aloud, there is good information here for discussion with older kids.

Book Information

Title- Stone Soup

Author- Marcia Brown

Recommended ages- 1st-5th

Synopsis- Three soldiers come to town, weary and tired from their travels. This particular town happens to be populated by some very stingy people who fear strangers. As the weary soldiers begin to ask for supper and a bed, the townspeople come up with reason after reason why they can’t share food and lodging with the soldiers.

But the soldiers aren’t discouraged. They head to the center of town and announce loudly that they are going to make stone soup. Pulling out three stones from their pockets, they begin talking about this wonderful soup. Soon the townspeople are gathering, hoping to share in this fabulous meal. Little by little, the soldiers get the townspeople to contribute their own food to add to the soup. In the end, they have a delicious soup- all made from the donations of the townspeople- and of course, the stones.

Language Arts

Folk tales- Stone Soup is a story based upon an old folktale. In fact, the first telling of the story came from a French woman in the 1700s. You can read about the history of the tale here.
Folk tales- Look through this SlideShare presentation to talk with kids about what a folktale is. What elements of common folktales can you find in Stone Soup? Can you think of other folktales that you’ve read?
Sequencing Read this poem that goes along with the story. Download the free printables, and kids can add ingredients in order.

Creative writing-
Older kids can write their own folktale after you’ve read about the different elements of a folktale. Younger kids can dictate a story to you.
Vocabulary– Choose ten vocabulary words from the story. Print blank vegetables from these coloring pages. Write vocabulary words on each. Have kids “pick” vegetables and write a definition on each. For younger kids, you can choose simpler words. Or work on word recognition by writing simple words from the story on the vegetables and teaching the words to kids.

Compare and contrast- Read another version of the Stone Soup story- there are several in the booklist below. Use the Venn Diagram from the free printables pack linked above to compare the version by author Marcia Brown with the version you read.


Nutrition– Find online games as well as printable activities for kids about nutrition at the Choose site.
Nutrition- Nourish Interactive is another great site for online activities as well as printables that will help kids learn about nutrition.
Nutrition- This is a cute- although rather corny- song about the different colors of fruits and vegetables and the nutrients they provide. Watch the video and then talk about the different foods that the townspeople added to the soup. Do any of them fall into these color categories?
Rocks– Although the rocks that the soldiers had couldn’t really make soup, rocks are interesting to learn about. Science Kids has some fun facts about rocks and minerals.
RocksThis video teaches kids about different types of rocks using some cool explanations and demonstrations.

Crafts and Fun

Make your own stone soup with this recipe which uses some of the ingredients from the story.
Stone soup by Marcia Brown literature unit
Cut construction paper into food shapes to make a stone soup collage. (You can see an example at the bottom of this post.)

This is another version of the story. Print and color the food on the bottom page, and kids can act out the story as you read it.


The Real Story of Stone Soup (versions of the story)

Stone Soup (versions of the story)
Cactus Soup (versions of the story)
Bone Button Borscht (versions of the story)
How to Eat a Rainbow (nutrition and recipes)
There is a board game- Stone Soup- that goes along with this story. It looks like it would make a really fun family game night!
Lapbook Lessons has a free Stone Soup lapbook.

Don’t miss the other literature units in this series!

Literature unit studies for kids

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