The Wretched Stone

Chris Van Allsburg, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-395-53307-9
A captain's log records the puzzling transformation of his ship's sailors after a glowing rock from an uncharted island is brought aboard. They turn into apes, insensate to the captain's orders and ``fascinated by the rock.'' A storm nearly scuttles the ship but also breaks the stone's hold over the men, who return to normal--except for an inordinate fondness for bananas. Once again, Van Allsburg voyages into an unknown territory that is mystical and eerie--though his somewhat overblown prose substitutes unsettling obfuscation for dramatic storytelling. His sharp-edged, ultra-realistic paintings are a marvel in their own right, from the otherworldly luminiscence of the ominous island to the deep indigos used to create the stillness of the ship and sea by night to oddly angled, even dizzying perspectives of the ship's hold and mast. All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/28/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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