A Stone Sat Still

Chronicle. Aug. 2019. 56p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781452173184.
K-Gr 4–Wenzel scores another hit with this engaging and though-provoking companion to They All Saw a Cat. “A stone sat still/with the water, grass, and dirt/and it was as it was/where it was in the world.” Lyrical text, stunning mixed-media artwork, and cleverly shifting perspectives reveal how this object is at once static and ever-changing, predictable yet filled with possibility, seemingly eternal yet somehow vulnerable. The stone is “dark” when swathed in shadow, and “bright” when bathed in moonlight. It’s “loud” when a seagull uses it to break apart a clam, and “quiet” when a snake sits curled atop; “rough” (compared to a slug) and “smooth” (compared to a porcupine); a “pebble” to a moose, and a “hill” to a tiny insect. As various animals discover, the stone is “a danger,” “a haven,’ “a story,” “a stage,” and so much more. Detail-packed illustrations work closely with the text to eloquently convey this sedentary stone’s role in its surrounding biome. Observant readers will notice that the water levels surrounding the stone are rising, which becomes first “an island,” then “a wave,” then “a memory” as it disappears beneath the surface, continuing to sit “still in the world” surrounded by seaweed and sea creatures.
VERDICT Showcasing at-a-glimpse activities of an array of animals, this book offers small stories to pore over as well as bigger ideas to ponder, including the influence of viewpoint, the relationship between wildlife and habitat, the impact of environmental issues, and the vagaries of time
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