Where most people see the ordinary, Caldecott Honoree Brendan Wenzel (They All Saw a Cat; Hello Hello) uncovers the extraordinary. With its soothing, poetic rhythm, A Stone Sat Still shows young audiences the many facets of what appears to be an average, boring stone.
Where a squirrel sees a dark stone in the light of day, an owl sees a bright stone in the moonlight; when a slimy slug crawls over the rock, it feels rough, but to a prickly porcupine, it's smooth. Through different perspectives and all manner of nature's creatures, Wenzel illustrates how remarkable the stone is: "the stone was a feel/ and the stone was a smell.../ and the stone was a kitchen/ and the stone was a throne." Viewing through Wenzel's lens, readers experience the enormity of this simple rock in the natural world.
Accentuating the profound tale are captivating illustrations composed of cut paper, pencil, collage and oil pastels. The bold colors, strong textures and meticulous detail function like a powerful magnet, drawing the reader to each page in order to absorb every beautiful element. Whether a snail on land or a seal in the sea, Wenzel depicts the creatures in their natural habitats with a clear sense of respect and compassion. Finally, Wenzel reminds his audience of the urgent need for everyone to respect the planet. "A stone sat still/ with the water, grass, and dirt/ and it was as it was/ where it was in the world." But, as a double-page spread that shows nothing but ocean where there had once been land suggests, if we don't change our ways the stone may become a memory. A powerful kaleidoscope of nature, A Stone Sat Still is stunning. --Jen Forbus, freelancer