Thursday, July 14, 2011

Happiness is...a good book. (Summer Reading edition #17)

Some of you may be wondering what happened to yesterday's post. Well, I had taken off from work a bit early to head to the Kennedy Center with some friends to see Wicked (just as fantastic this time as it was the first time I saw it, by the way, if you haven't seen it I strongly suggest you do whatever it takes to change that!) and by the time I got home it had completely slipped my mind. Don't worry, I'll make it up to you but probably not until tomorrow. I'm swallowing some dinner while I type this and then I'm going to try my darndest to take a bit of a nap before joining the masses for the midnight showing of the final Harry Potter movie...I'm already giddy!

And if you're nice to me I just might throw in some HP lovin' as an extra extra bonus for tomorrow. :)

But for now, here's today's book review.

If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet
Author: Leslie McGuirk
Pages: 32
Age Range: 2+
Published: 2011
Genre: Picture Book
Cover Score: ***
Overall Grade: ****
Rating: G

This unassuming little book crossed my desk earlier today. I almost didn’t give it a second look but I’ve always been interested in rocks (I have a small bowl on my bookshelf right now filled with bits of rock, seashells, sea glass and such) and it piqued my curiosity. I’m glad I gave it a chance. It channels right into my love for the art and quirkiness of nature ala Andy Goldsworthy.  Anyone who has ever gazed up at floating clouds and seen dragons, rocket ships or fairy princesses will be right at home in the pages of this book.

Using rocks found on the beaches near her Florida home, the author creates a unique alphabet book which will inspire rock collectors everywhere. She gathered rocks looking like each letter of the alphabet and also uses rocks to illustrate the letter's corresponding word/object. So, when F is for footprint and S is for seahorse the rocks are not only shaped like F and S but also like a footprint and a seahorse. (Take a look at the cover, all those letters are actually the rocks! It's really quite cool.)

This is the kind of book that makes me wish I had kids or was still teaching school.  This would be a perfect jumping off point for an art/writing project or even a simple geology lesson. (How did they get to be those shapes? There's a short author's note at the end that gives a very brief description of the science behind them...fossiliferous sandstone --say that 5 times fast!-- as well as her obsession with finding the whole alphabet.) It would also pair nicely with Saxton Freymann’s food with faces books.

Simple photographs with a few props add interest (such as a polymer clay carrot in orange and green next to the gray rock rabbit) but most of the backgrounds are black and white and the text is appropriately rock gray. I would have liked a bit more color perhaps but I can see the logic behind the choices. This is sure to inspire some creativity and lumpy, heavy pockets (and fun laundry days for moms!)

Your charge for today? Go ye forth and rock hunt! Rediscover the wonder of something simple and magical and perhaps a bit out of the ordinary. Maybe you'll find yourself a rock that looks like Harry Potter or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named or Dobby! If you do, please send me a picture!  

Happy rock hunting and happy Harry Potter Finale Eve.  Here's hoping I stay semi-conscious in the aftermath/work tomorrow. Hmmm, you may have to wait for your bonus bonus post until Saturday...

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