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The Picture Book Buzz

A Stone Sat Still - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

It's interesting how perspective changes things. Those paper brick building blocks that seemed gigantic when you're a two-year-old and that English sheepdog that was the size of a bear are all a lot smaller when you look at them as an adult. And a simple stick can be a plant support to a gardener, a sword or a baton to a child, or a bridge to a snail.

If you enjoyed the "groundbreaking" and exciting way that Brendan Wenzel demonstrated these differences in perceptions of an item in They All Saw A Cat, you are going to LOVE Brendan's newest picture book.

This time, he examines how the world sees and interacts with one stone, asking "When is a stone more than a stone?"

A Stone Sat Still

Author/Illustrator: Brendan Wenzel

Publisher: Chronicle Books (2019)

Ages: 4-8



Perspectives, nature, possibilities, and concepts (such as color, size, & time).


The brilliant follow-up to the Caldecott Honor-winning and New York Times bestselling picture book They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel! A Stone Sat Still tells the story of a seemingly ordinary rock—but to the animals that use it, it is a resting place, a kitchen, a safe haven...even an entire world.

Opening lines:

A stone sat still

with the water, grass, and dirt

and it was as it was

where it was in the world.

What I Loved about this book:

With soft lyrical text, Brendan tells the story of a stone. He not only examines a wide array of different animal's perspectives of the stone, but he presents their varied perceptions of it as well. Deftly combining the concepts of size (a mountain to a bug and a pebble to a Moose), color (darkly shadowed to a chipmunk or glowing moonlit to an owl), seasons, and textures as the animals and the elements interact with the rock. Each image creates a window into a micro ecosystem.

© Brendan Wenzel, 2019.

The stone was a home, a whole world, and "a throne." As the story progresses, the water level rises around the stone creating different perceptions as it becomes "an island," "a wave," and "a memory." Though it interacts with different animals, now underwater, the constant remains that "where with water, grass, and dirt/ a stone sits still in the world."

One of my favorite spreads (and this was SO hard to choose) shows the rock viewed by a bird in flight and a snail on a mission.

© Brendan Wenzel, 2019.

The gorgeous illustrations created with cut paper, pencil, collage, and paint show how the rock can be a resting place, "a kitchen," a safe haven, and a landmark. It can be a minor aspect of life or an animal's entire world, regardless of the changes that occur to its environment.

This is a great book to spark discussions about perspectives and perceptions, environmentalism, plant and animal behavior, how things change over time, and perhaps a subtle message of being at peace with who you are. Each time I read it, I find a new treasure in the illustrations and text. I truly hope this book finds a home in every classroom and library.


- be sure to examine the changes in the cover and the end pages. How do they show the changes to the rock that occurred in the story?

- take an item and look at it from various perspectives. How would it appear to an ant, a slug, an elephant, or a giant?

- make a torn paper picture; and

- listen to Brendan discuss the creation of the book and the real rock that inspired the story

If you missed Brendan Wenzel's interview on Monday, find it (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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