Stone Soup with Matzoh Balls: A Passover Tale in Chelm

Albert Whitman & Company  2014


A familiar folktale, Passover-style. When a hungry stranger arrives in Chelm, the poor and somewhat stingy villagers have nothing to offer. So the stranger offers them soup— chicken soup with matzoh balls—which he will make with nothing more than a stone. Before long, of course, the wily visitor is able to coax from the villagers some salt, an onion, carrots, and so on. When the soup is almost finished, he proposes to serve up matzoh balls “so big and heavy they’ll sit in your belly like rocks all eight days of Passover.” This, of course, won’t do, and the wise people of Chelm donate their own matzoh balls, “so light they can almost fly.” The minute you open the pages of this book, you’ll think, “But of course, Stone Soup set in Chelm!” It’s a natural fit for a story about gullibility—even more so, given the Passover injunction: Let all who are hungry, come and eat. Glaser gets a nice rhythm going; her humorous, subversive tone is a perfect match for the sly wit of the story. The appealing, soft-edged illustrations offer lots of different perspectives on the action—though one might have wished for a brighter palette. Recommended for ages 4-8.

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