If You Find a Rock

Peggy Christian, Author, Diane D'Andrade, Editor, Barbara Hirsch Lember, Illustrator Harcourt Children's Books $17 (32p) ISBN 978-0-15-239339-7
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.)
Reviewed on: 03/06/2000
Release date: 03/01/2000
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FORMATS
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4178-2905-7
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-15-206354-2
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