Introduction to this Stone Soup Art and Writing Activity

Many of the stories we print in Stone Soup are both written and illustrated by the author. Many authors illustrate their own stories—especially authors of books for children. I am sure your library has books by authors like this: Maurice Sendak, Arnold Lobel, James Marshall, and M. B. Goffstein being just a few.

In the original manuscript that was sent to us, “When Smudgie got Lost” had twenty-three illustrations and was made into a book. The original manuscript is a “picture book” with a picture on every page. In a picture book, there isn’t much of a story without the pictures. The story and the pictures are of equal importance and they are often created at the same time. Of course, unless you are ambidextrous and able to do two things at once, it’s difficult physically to write words and draw a picture at exactly the same time! To produce your picture book you will have to decide which one–drawing or writing–takes the lead, for you. Do you visualise your story in pictures or images first, and then add the words to help your audience understand what they are seeing, or to help them pick out particular elements in your picture that you want them to notice? Or do you have the outline of a story in words that you want your readers to be able to see in your picture rather than visualise for themselves using more words?

Make a Picture Book

Make a book where the pictures take the lead or the pictures and text are equal, where you can’t imagine one without the other. In a book of this kind there will probably be a picture on every page, and the text itself will be very short. In a picture book, one often finds that without the pictures, the written story doesn’t mean very much. It is in the pictures where a “picture book” comes alive.


When Smudgie Got Lost!

By Karine Faden, 10, Rockville, Maryland
Illustrated by the author
From the September/October 1986 issue of Stone Soup


When Smudgie Got Lost! entering houseErik and Ashley lived in England. They had a dog named Smudgie. Smudgie liked to go for walks to the marketplace where they had food, but even more Smudgie liked to go to the butcher and sit outside where all the good smells were.

When Smudgie Got Lost! catShe came to the nursery every afternoon before tea for her daily walk with her leash in her mouth.

Smudgie scratched at the door. Nanny said, “Smudgie, sit!” Smudgie sat.

Then out came Erik and said, “Good girl.”

Then Ashley came out and put on Smudgie’s leash.

When Smudgie Got Lost! inside the house

And then, out came Nanny, with the coats and mittens, hats and scarves, and said, “Button up, children.” Then Nanny put on Erik’s hat and buttoned up Ashley. “Come now,” said Nanny, motioning toward the door.

When Smudgie Got Lost! leashLike soldiers they all marched out the door and down the stairs, Nanny first, then Erik, and then Ashley walking Smudgie.

Finally, they were out on the street—Erik and Ashley and Smudgie, that is. Nanny was stuck in the door.

When Smudgie Got Lost! gathering

But Smudgie tugged Nanny out while Erik and Ashley went inside the house the back way and pushed from the back.

And then they marched out the door.

When Smudgie Got Lost! boneThen we walked Smudgie to the market. Smudgie was very happy.

Nanny had said that we were going to the butcher’s. That’s why Smudgie was happy. She always got a bone at the butcher’s.

Smudgie did get her bone.

Smudgie tugged at her leash very hard and Erik let go! In less than a minute Smudgie was out of sight.

When Smudgie Got Lost! on the street

“Uh oh!” said Erik.

“Whoops!” giggled Ashley.

“This is not a laughing matter,” replied Nanny.

They searched all over South London and didn’t find a trace of Smudgie.

When Smudgie Got Lost! women talking

Finally, at seven o’clock P.M., way past tea, a bit past dinner, and almost bed time, they hadn’t found Smudgie.

When they got to Markshire Square, Nanny said, “Let’s take a cab home. It might cheer us up.”

When Smudgie Got Lost! cat's meowBut that depressed them even more. Smudgie had always followed any car that Erik or Ashley traveled in.

By the time Nanny had brought the poor children home, they were all too tired to do anything but go to bed.

While all this had been going on, Smudgie had gotten herself lost.

Smudgie had seen a cat and she just had to chase her, but the minute she rounded the corner she had lost her.

When Smudgie Got Lost! cat near garbage

Smudgie had tried looking for Nanny and listening for Erik and Ashley’s call. But she hadn’t heard a thing, and right now was in a very bad neighborhood. And a mean dog had stolen her bone.

About nine o’clock Father was driving home and he saw Smudgie in a side alley along the road.

When Smudgie Got Lost! picture of family

Then the two of them drove home.

Erik, Ashley, Mother, and even Nanny were all happy to see Smudgie. And, of course, Father.

When Smudgie Got Lost! cat foof

About the Author

In 1973, I was twenty years old, teaching children's art classes at my college, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and came up with the idea that the best way to encourage children to write was to introduce them to the best writing by their peers. Stone Soup grew out of that idea, and I have continued to publish Stone Soup for all these years.
I am also a culinary historian. I write about traditional foodways. My book, "The Magic of Fire," is about hearth cooking. My book, "Bread, a global history," speaks for itself. I am currently writing a bread history for a University Press. I publish articles on gardening and traditional foodways at Mother Earth News. I also publish on wild mushrooms and other food-related subjects.

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