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Saturday, June 25, 2011

if rocks could sing, rock styiling and props by Leslie McGuirk. Tricycle Press, Random House. 2011. $17.99 ages 4 and up

"It became a real passion
of mine to complete the
entire alphabet. For many
years I waited for the letter
K to appear. There was
nothing I could do to make
it show up."

Only those who stroll sandy beaches around the world know the treasures that abound there. This book happily pays tribute to every child (or the child in us) who takes the time to fill pockets and pails with rocks, shells, sea glass and anything else the waters cough up for our inspection and delight.

I have never seen another book like it. It is imaginative and charming, while making me gasp in wonder at the sheer determination shown by Leslie McGuirk over the past ten years to wander Florida beaches in search of 'alphabet' rocks and then, a representation for each of the letters found. Only one rock was not found in Florida; the letter X showed up on Maine shores. 

The wonders abound as pages are turned and new delights discovered. The rocks are 'fossiliferous sandstone' and the author describes the process that helped form them:

"Thousands -maybe millions - of years ago, the sand and shell fragments were deposited on the sea floor, just beyond where the waves break. Over many years, they were 'glued' together by a chemical in the seawater, turning it from loose sediment into sedimentary rock. This sandstone was sculpted by being tumbled, broken, shaped and smoothed by the waves."

Careful observation is the heart of this book, and the wonders that nature offers is the catalyst for its creation.
It is, luckily for her readers, 'a discovered alphabet'. One that will help us make discoveries of our own if we follow Leslie's lead.
Use this with Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor and If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian.

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