Rhoda's Rock Hunt

Molly Beth Griffin, illus. by Jennifer A. Bell. Minnesota Historical Society, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-87351-950-2
In a quietly perceptive story, when gawky Rhoda joins her outdoorsy Auntie Jane and Uncle Jonah (and a delighted dog) on a camping trip, the trail gets rocky in more ways than one. But for a rock-lover like Rhoda, this is generally a good thing: "Rhoda found jagged rocks and bumpy rocks in that forest and one with tiny sparkly bits that glinted in the dappled sunlight." Bell (When a Grandpa Says "I Love You") gives her cast simple, expressive features, while mint and emerald greens combine with earthy brown hatch marks to create a tranquil landscape. Although Rhoda is "tired and dirty and hungry on the last day of the trip," the Big Lake offers exciting treasures to add to her collection, until her pack is too heavy to move. Rhoda attempts to redistribute the wealth into her pockets (they sag comically), but realizes that most of the rocks must stay behind. The resolution that she arrives at independently (building cairns) speaks to the importance of memories over materials, a message Griffin delivers with a light touch. Ages 3–7. Illustrator's agency: Shannon Associates. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/13/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
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