Strong as Stone

Viking. Feb. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593204665.
PreS-Gr 1–In a fantasy set in prehistoric times, Stone and her father live among the elk, mastodons, and bison in small tents alongside mountains. She and her father do everything together. He teaches her how to climb tall trees, how to hunt, and whenever she is hurt or scared he tells her she is as “strong as stone.” This strength is tested when he becomes ill. The cure is guarded by ferocious bears, and Stone volunteers for the trek. Although the trek is difficult, she presses on, befriending a beast and teaching it all she knows. When at last Stone meets the bears, she dismisses what the other warriors have tried, and treats the bears with kindness. They lead her to the cure for her father, and she returns home. Browne works in a style that makes free use of decorative motifs and scenes of the old ways, but somehow remains true to the spirit of Stone’s quest: Why not try kindness?
VERDICT An unusual setting will have children imagining the truths of prehistory, and reckoning with a unique take on “warfare.”

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