cover image Charlotte and the Rock

Charlotte and the Rock

Stephen W. Martin, illus. by Samantha Cotterill. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-101-99389-7

Knowing that their daughter craves a pet, Charlotte’s parents, with great fanfare, present her with a large rock. Charlotte, who has glasses and pigtails and looks a tiny bit dorky, is a good sport: “It wasn’t quite what Charlotte had in mind, but she tried to remain positive.” Cotterill’s (No More Bows!) droll ink drawings show Charlotte naming her rock Dennis by tipping it out the window onto a grid of names written in chalk on the sidewalk. “We chose it together!” she tells a neighbor proudly. Charlotte discovers things she and Dennis can do together (read, dress up as superheroes) but mourns that Dennis can’t love her back. When Dennis hatches (spoiler: he’s an egg), he delivers unexpected joy. Readers who expected Charlotte to reconcile herself to Dennis may resist the egg ex machina, while those looking for excitement may be frustrated by the long setup. But Martin’s (Robot Smash!) dry humor delivers giggles (“You said what ate your homework?” Charlotte’s teacher snaps), and so does the concluding reversal of fortune. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Laurie Abkemeier, DeFiore and Company. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Mar.)