What Can You Do with a Rock?

Jabberwocky. Oct. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781728217635.
PreS-Gr 2–What a rocking picture book this is! With a bit of geology, a bit of psychology, and a lot of fun, the author and illustrator give us a small active person of indeterminate gender and neutral pronouns in the text (and longish flippy blue hair in the illustrations), who delightedly progresses from kicking rocks, to picking them up, to skipping, dropping, sorting, studying, creating with them—and finally, using them as a stepping stone to friendship. Harking back to such gems as A Hole Is to Dig, this book in its final pages provides a quick intro to geology and some further reading, with both fiction and nonfiction suggestions. In the animated, realistic, blue-washed watercolors, perspectives vary and figures are anchored by thick, fuzzy lines. Landscapes and interiors are uncluttered, but detailed enough to convince. Many compositions featuring a path with an entry- or exit-point help to reinforce the reader-oriented viewpoint. The clear, simple, second-person text offers encouragement and elides gender, but eventually the main character and brown-skinned friend with hair in two meatball-shaped buns are wearing what most children will perceive as girls’ bathing suits.
VERDICT A winning blend of science, playfulness, and the warmth of personal connections, with lively, engaging illustrations, this book deserves rock-star status

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