Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Steig's drawings capture the animals' emotions perfectly, as Sylvester learns that a simple wish can sometimes backfire, but love can overcome all.
What's the story?
Sylvester must have had rocks in his head when he panics at the advance of a lion, and to escape turns himself into--a rock! Unrecognizable to Mom, Dad, and everyone, is he doomed to be a rock forever? Is it luck, or fate, that brings them to picnic on that one particular rock, where everyone obtains what he or she has been wishing for?
Is it any good?
Once again, William Steig addresses one of childhood's biggest latent fears, abandonment. But his gentle, unerring handling of this issue makes for an endearing story full of pathos and strength. Steig's belief in the magic (mysteries) of life is central to this story, both in creating the anxious situation and relieving it. Steig won the Caldecott Medal for children's-book illustration for this book, and while it's a good choice to recognize within Steig's body of work, with its attention to detail and bright colors, it is no more stunning than many other children's books. It is Steig's deserving style and sensitive attention to faces in all his work that was probably given tribute then.
As a package, this book offers the same classic satisfaction of most of Steig's works. So much feeling and nuance stuffed into the simple story and pictures of this little book will make children appreciate the power of books and convince their parents that books should be collected and read over and over.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the notion of being careful what you wish for. How does Sylvester's wish make things go all wrong? How does he solve his problem, and what does he learn from it?