cover image A Chip Off the Old Block

A Chip Off the Old Block

Jody Jensen Shaffer, illus. by Daniel Miyares. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-17388-2

Rocky the rock wants to do “big things,” an open-ended goal that gives Shaffer’s geological epic plenty of latitude. Rocky remembers his famous Uncle Gibraltar and his Aunt Etna before setting off on a quest that has him visiting some local relatives. He gets blown off the Wave in Arizona, washed off Wyoming’s Devil’s Tower, and knocked off sauropod tracks in Texas before finding his place in the world as a patch for Lincoln’s cracked nose at Mt. Rushmore. (The monument’s faces do crack from time to time, an author’s note explains.) Miyares (That Neighbor Kid) paints Rocky on heavily textured paper, adding depth and richness to his spreads; saturated reds and purples contribute drama. It’s tough to cast a rock as a main character, but Shaffer (Prudence the Part-Time Cow) comes up with lots of ways a rock can travel and uses every geological pun she can think of (“It was clear the two of them didn’t share the same sediment”). Rock hounds and teachers doing earth science units are a natural audience. Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: Kathleen Rushall, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agency: Studio Goodwin Sturges. (Feb.)