cover image A Stone Is a Story

A Stone Is a Story

Leslie Barnard Booth, illus. by Marc Martin. McElderry, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-9694-1

Despite their static appearance, stones move, change, and tell stories, debut author Barnard Booth details in a picture book that considers its subject in narrative terms. Considering a rock picked up by a brown-skinned child at water’s edge, lines describe it as “not/ just a stone” but an entity that has experienced history on a geological and historical scale. In the lifetime of a stone, action-oriented text suggests, there’s dynamism (“A stone has been lava, gushing”), destruction (“A stone has been wrenched apart by roots”), travel (“dragged by a glacier”), and transformation (“squeezed and scorched”). Working in watercolor washes whose bleeding and staining echo natural processes, Martin (Every Child a Song) paints scenes of a young planet and its natural life, lighting spreads with volcanic fire and primeval sunsets. Providing signposts about Earth’s change from the beginning of time to the present day, Booth’s study gives energy and intrigue to objects that seem deceptively quiet and ordinary—bringing history home via one stone held in a contemporary child’s hand, then skipped on the water. Back matter includes a description of rock types. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Claire Draper, Bent Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (Oct.)