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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

A Stone Sat Still, written and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. Chronicle, Raincoast. 2019. $23.99 ages 3 and up

"and the stone was bright

and the stone was loud

and the stone was quiet

and it sat where it sat
with the water, grass, and dirt

and it was what it was"

Happy birthday to A Stone Sat Still!

In this new look at the natural world, Brendan Wenzel puts things in perspective for those who have the great pleasure of reading it. As he did in They All Saw A Cat (Chronicle, 2016), he chooses one object. This time it's a stone. The featured creatures experience that stone is as varied ways as the creatures themselves are distinct. Not one of them feels the same about the stone as any of the others. That is the book's charm, and its beauty.

It matters not the creature that pays a visit, the stone is always the same. It is simply there. It is dark in the early morning, and bright in the moonlight. It is both loud and quiet. It is rough, and it is smooth. Depending on each singular circumstance, its sensory features are noted by the animal visiting. 

While the stone is ever the same, its surroundings change just as the perspective does. The water rises over time until the stone becomes an island, then a wave and a finally, a memory. But, it is still there, on the sea floor, where it is climbed by yet another snail.  This picture book will cause readers to think deeply about the natural world we share. It is quite the astonishing place when we take time to sit quietly and take note of what is going on around us. 

Each new spread invites careful observation and quiet attention. Through an animal's perspective we get a clear look at this one object. The mixed media images range from tranquil to energetic, from muted to brilliant - and are always stunning.

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