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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Charlotte and the Rock, written by Stephen W. Martin and illustrated by Samantha Cotterill. Dial, Penguin. 2017. $22.99 ages 3 and up

"It wasn't quite what Charlotte had in mind, but she tried to remain positive. The rock, after all, was a good listener. It was also quiet and easy to train.

Stay ...

And it was hypoallergenic, which was good ... "

Charlotte isn't particular about the kind of pet she gets. She simply knows she wants one. On her sixth birthday her parents surprise her with a ... pet rock! They are ecstatic. Charlotte not so much, if a picture is worth a thousand words.

Charlotte is clearly not a complainer. She accepts her pet rock with grace, and is able to admire its many attributes. There are difficulties. Walking is not an easy pursuit. The teacher has a very difficult time accepting its role in the case of the missing homework, as you can imagine! But, being ever optimistic, Charlotte is impressed with what they can do together.

"They played games
and pretended to be
They read comic books.
They even went swimming!"

There is only one obstacle to enduring friendship. Dennis shows no emotion for his owner. No matter the circumstance, Dennis is impassive. Until one day ... insomnia? Or something else?

What a shocker! Her family remains positive, a lesson well learned by Charlotte.

This is a great deal of fun to read aloud in a classroom. Kids will love the expressionless voice, the sudden surprise and Charlotte herself. The artwork is created with nib pen and ink before digital coloring. Its many details add context and humor, while also presenting a worthy protagonist whose emotions are evident on every page.

Please don't miss Charlotte's Pet Rock Rules, if you are seriously considering a new family pet!

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