PEGGY CHRISTIAN has been a reading specialist, a bookstore manager, and a teacher of language arts and writing. She lives in Missoula, Montana.BARBARA HIRSCH LEMBER's books for children include two nonfiction titles, A Book of Fruit and The Shell Book. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Gr 1-4-Since the dawn of time, humans have found rocks, stones, and pebbles to be subtly alluring. In a poignant, lyrical text, Christian contemplates the magnetism of an assortment of such serendipitous discoveries. From drawing ephemeral runes on the sidewalk with a "chalk rock" to the satisfying slither of a handful of "sifting rocks" and the exaltation of a "climbing rock," these common but beguiling objects are wondered about ("-you might find a rock with a stripe running all the way round it-You have a wishing rock, and you whisper what you want before you throw it"). Each two-page spread includes at least one of Lember's softly hand-tinted photos that eloquently reflect the evocative text. Insert this gem into an earth-science unit and watch as certain students drift from igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock, and the Mohs' scale to look at their specimens with wide, remembering eyes.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Hand-tinted black-and-white photographs lend a timeless quality to this contemplative picture book. No feldspar or quartz is categorized hereDrather, Christian (The Bookstore Mouse) muses on a variety of rocks that children typically encounter, such as flat "skipping" rocks ("you toss it out in the water just so and see it trip across the surface, making a chain of spreading rings") to a "wishing rock ("with a stripe running all the way round it... it must circle all the way. You whisper what you want before you throw it"). Christian imbues her words with a childlike sense of wonder that lifts the everyday to the extraordinary, a transformation intensified by superb book production. Hewing to an earth-toned palette, Lember's (A Book of Fruit) photos are spare and uncluttered, alternating between tightly focused shots (small hands holding various stones, for instance) with broader pastoral vistas, such as a boy leaping from rock to rock across a creek. A slight soft-focus effect helps suspend the subjects in timeDdespite the backpacks and sneakers, these children could be from any era. The book's design is exemplary as well; the words are matted against broad swaths of white space, while the glossy sheen of the photographs stands out vividly. A work of art in every regard. Ages 6-9. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
[set star] "A work of art in every regard."--Publishers Weekly (starred)"Poignant, lyrical . . . [A] gem."--School Library Journal "Elegant."--The New York Times Book Review