Kindergarten – Grade 3 (Annick Press, 2012)
The fascination of young children for stones has long been a governing aspect of life around our house. My husband and I have grown to respect this even if we don’t always understand it the way Sarah Tsiang and Qin Leng obviously do.
Their respect for the way Abby sees the “two heavy eggs” she has found is a significant part of what makes this book so valuable. It is obvious that Abby has to bring the eggs inside, make them a nest out of sweaters and sit on that nest until the little birds hatch. They are never described as imaginary and are only ever referred to as stones by those who may not share Abby’s understanding – certainly never by the narrator.
Neither is Abby’s perspective ever minimized by Qin Leng’s illustrations. Instead, the light sketches in marker shed light on Abby’s wondrous reality as the stone hatchlings follow her around the house or sing on her windowsill.
Refreshingly, Abby’s whimsical view of the world doesn’t change over the course of the story. Instead, her growth occurs when she realizes that, of course, even stone hatchlings must be set free.
This book will appeal to all 4- to 8-year-old stone loving children and will speak to the hearts of their parents. As Abby’s mother and father watched her sit on her nest during dinner, I’m so glad we’ve been known go back home and get that special stone that just had to join us up at the cottage.
Review originally published in Canadian Children’s Book News, Fall 2012