cover image Rick the Rock of Room 214

Rick the Rock of Room 214

Julie Falatko, illus. by Ruth Chan. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-534-49464-0

Rick, a lumpy gray rock with googly eyes and a sweet smile, has been sitting on Room 214’s Nature Finds shelf “for as long as he can remember” while on-the-move human students, portrayed with various skin tones, have all the fun, drawing and reading and singing. During a geology unit, Rick learns that his kind “hold up the world,” and becomes convinced that he’s made for adventure, just like the rocks that form imposing outcroppings and exploding volcanoes. Hitching a ride in a student’s backpack, Rick, who sports a gold star and a green splodge, lands among a whole field of outdoor rocks, asking, “When do we explode out of volcanoes?” But the rocks, who “have never had glitter glue spilled on them,” are sedentary in the extreme, wanting nothing more than to sit in silence (“We already exploded. Other times. We’re done with that now”). Mixing laugh-out-loud narration with comics-style framing, previous collaborators Falatko and Chan (The Great Indoors) earn a gold star for comedy cooperation. And by restoring Rick to the shelf with a new understanding of how he inspires the students’ learning and art-making, the creators show that adventure is really what you make it—and who you make it with. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Aug.)