Tag: rocks

Mine! by Jeff Mack

Mine! by Jeff Mack

Mine! by Jeff Mack (9781452152349, Amazon)

Two mice discover a large rock that they both want to own. What ensues is a one-word argument back and forth between them and an ever-escalating battle of dominance. The mice use cheese to tempt each other along with wrapped gifts. Other rocks also play a role and pile around the bigger rock. There are walls of rock, knocked down by a wrecking ball. Finally, the two mice are together on the rock, arguing with one another. That’s when the ending takes a great twist.

Mack has a delightful sense of humor and timing in this picture book. The writing could not be simpler, with only one word being used in the entire book. The illustrations work particularly well with their limited palette and bright colors. They have the feel of the vintage Spy vs. Spy, with the two mice in their distinct colors battling one another. There are sneaky attacks and all out blasts. It’s a wild look at the hazards of not sharing.

Great for toddlers learning about sharing, reading this aloud will have you shouting “Mine!” in all sorts of tones. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

Bring Me a Rock by Daniel Miyares

Bring Me a Rock by Daniel Miyares

Bring Me a Rock by Daniel Miyares (InfoSoup)

A demanding grasshopper wearing a crown insists that the other insects bring him a rock! Big rocks to build his pedestal so that it is suitable for a king. So the insects bring back rocks and the king accepts most of them with little grace. One though, carried by the smallest insect is not worthy of being part of his pedestal and is rejected along with the little bug who brought it. Now the grasshopper king has created a pedestal to sit high upon with all of the rocks piled one upon another. But it is not balanced and begins to tip. Luckily though, the small pebble that the little bug brought is just right to save the day.

Miyares has written this picture book entirely in dialogue and almost all of it in the imperious and demanding voice of the grasshopper. That makes for a great read aloud where storytellers can get into the character and exaggerate it for comic effect. Then the little bug also speaks and in the end equalizes the roles of all of the insects alongside the king. The end is a welcome twist where the kind is on his pedestal but so are all of the other bugs too.

The illustrations are done in watercolor and digital resulting in a book that is filled with light and lush greens. The grasshopper and the other insects are colorful against the yellow sky and greenery and the critical pebble glows white on the page, immediately showing its importance even before it is used.

Read this one aloud with plenty of energy and dynamics and it will add plenty of zing to any summer story time. Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.


Review: Fossil by Bill Thomson


Fossil by Bill Thomson

Thomson, author of Chalk, returns with a book that once again mixes fantasy with photorealistic art.  In this picture book, a boy is walking along the water with his dog.  He finds an interesting rock but then trips and the rock goes flying and breaks open revealing a fossil inside.  As he picks it up and discovers the fossilized fern inside the rock, ferns start to grow around him.  His dog digs up another rock and when the boy breaks that one open, a huge dragonfly comes to life.  The dragonfly lands on another rock and readers will see the claws on the fossil before the shadow appears.  With his dog in danger, the boy has to think fast about how to save him. 

Done in a wordless format, Thomson’s art is the real draw here.  His photorealism makes for images that are worth lingering over.  He also uses unique perspectives throughout the book, such as the image on the cover.  The books has the universal appeal of a sandy shore littered with large stones and drenching sunlight.  That same sunlight somehow becomes threatening once the dinosaur appears, almost spotlighting the danger and creating deep menacing shadows.

Vivid and beautiful, this book offers a dynamic take on fossils and prehistoric life.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: A Rock Is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston

rock is lively

A Rock Is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long

Another stellar collaboration by the team that created An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, and A Butterfly Is Patient, this nonfiction picture book focuses on rocks and minerals.  The book begins with rock melted as magma beneath the earth.  It talks about what makes up rocks and how old they are, as well as the rocks that we find in space.  Rocks as tools and weapons are explored, mixed in with the amazing rock interiors that surprise and delight. The different types of rocks finish off the factual piece of the book, but the bright and beautiful illustrations continue all the way to the final lapis lazuli endpages. 

Aston manages to write nonfiction as if each sentence is filled with delight.  Her enthusiasm for the subjects she writes about is evident in her writing, inviting young readers to get just as interested as she is.  The art carries that same enthusiasm in its bright colors and details.  Done in watercolor, the colors are surprisingly deep and lush. 

If you have the first three books from these amazing collaborators, this is a must-buy.  It should be on the shelves of any school or public library, sure to get young people exploring a new subject.  Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

Book Review: If Rocks Could Sing by Leslie McGuirk


If Rocks Could Sing: a Discovered Alphabet by Leslie McGuirk

This is such an intriguing premise for an alphabet book!  Each alphabet along with the items that the letter stands for are shown in rocks.  The rocks were found along a Florida shore and not changed to look this way.  It is a book based on finding treasures others overlook and seeing possibilities.  The book has a simple layout, allowing the rocks to be the feature here.  It begins with A is for Addition with rocks standing in for 1, 8, = and 9.  B is for Bird with a very unique bird-shaped rock posed in a nest.  C is for couch potato, because who could ever not use this perfectly potato-like rock!  The book is a whimsical tribute to beachcombing.

It is such a simple concept that it has to be done right.  While a couple of the rocks do seem more like blobs than the object they are meant to be, others are startlingly close.  Look at the T is for Toast page, and you can almost see the whole-wheat grain in the toast slice.  The book is a delight just to page through and discover.

It is a book that will have you looking for much more than pretty seashells on your next visit to the beach!  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.

Also reviewed by Journey of a Bookseller.

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