If Rocks Could Sing: A Discovered Alphabet

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Overview

Amazing rocks, found on a stretch of beach near the author's home, comprise this unique alphabet book. A is for Addition, and there are rocks in the shape of real numbers, too. B is for Bird, and there is a bird rock on a nest with an egg. G is for Ghosts, and there is a host of rocks that look like ghosts! Children and adults alike will pore over these fascinating rocks, and will be inspired collect their own.
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Overview

Amazing rocks, found on a stretch of beach near the author's home, comprise this unique alphabet book. A is for Addition, and there are rocks in the shape of real numbers, too. B is for Bird, and there is a bird rock on a nest with an egg. G is for Ghosts, and there is a host of rocks that look like ghosts! Children and adults alike will pore over these fascinating rocks, and will be inspired collect their own.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Review, The Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2011
"There is as much wit here as there is potential pedagogy: The rock that is used to show "O is for ouch!" looks as though it is shouting and wincing at the same time; the slab of "toast" used to illustrate the letter T so nearly resembles whole-grain bread that you can imagine yourself biting into it."

Review, School Library Journal, May 1, 2011
"Sure to spark imaginative rock-finding hunts and found-object art projects, this quirky title will earn its place in any picture-book collection."

Review, Booklist, May 1, 2011
"With clean page design, restrained use of color, and minimal text, this intriguing book showcases the rocks themselves and may inspire children to discover their own found art."

Review, Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2011:
"Begs to be pored over again and again."

Review, Publisher's Weekly, March 14, 2011:
"It's an unusual labor of love that may have kids checking the ground for familiar shapes."

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—This unique alphabet book features photos of ocean-sculpted rocks lovingly collected over the course of a decade by the author. McGuirk amassed a complete alphabet of letter-shaped rocks, which she pairs with other humorously representational geologic findings. She puts the emphasis on the rocks themselves, employing simple text, solid backgrounds, and spare, yet engaging layouts to showcase her finds. Additional whimsical embellishments are occasionally used to complete the imaginative leap for the book's audience, though there is no need to rely on such additions for the letters all are easily recognizable. The collection ranges from a dog-shaped rock chained to a tiny wooden doghouse ("D is for dog") and a boot-shaped stone kicking an orange ball ("K is for kick") to an array of pale faces set against a dark backdrop ("G is for ghosts") and a pair of fish-shaped rocks with perfect smiling faces ("J is for joy"). Each image invites discovery and, once recognized by readers, will evoke amazement, laughter, or sighs of satisfaction. While reminiscent of Saxton Freymann's vegetable creations, McGuirk's stones stand alone for the sheer "wow" factor that nature can create. This concept book will be at home in storytimes and classroom read-aloud sessions, though children may wish to take it home and give each stone a closer look. Sure to spark imaginative rock-finding hunts and found-object art projects, this quirky title will earn its place in any picture-book collection.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
Publishers Weekly
McGuirk has assembled a collection of 26 rocks shaped like every letter of the alphabet, plus many more shaped like objects for each letter. "A is for Addition," McGuirk starts, with a chalkboard slate on the right photographed with rocks shaped like a one, eight, an equal sign, and a nine (a magnet stands in for the plus sign). For "D," there's a dog-shaped rock with a collar, and "G is for Ghost" shows 16 amorphous stones with wailing mouths and empty eyes. It's an unusual labor of love that may have kids checking the ground for familiar shapes. All ages. (May)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
McGuirk tells us that while walking along the shore she developed "a real passion" for stones whose shapes suggest letter forms. Her successful discoveries are photographed and frequently supplemented with other related objects to make this alphabet. For example, "b is for bird" places the stone in a twig nest with an egg; the couch potato for "c" is lying on a chaise longue; "j is for joy" shows a large and a small stone with smiling faces; the k-shaped stone "for kick" also has a boot-like stone kicking an orange ball; l has not only a lemon-shaped stone but also a glass of lemonade complete with lemon slice; a carrot is added to "r is for rabbit" and the stone rabbit; etc. Some pages are white, while others have colored backgrounds. The end pages have all the lower case stone letters laid out alphabetically for comparison. This contrasting alphabet book could also inspire readers to find their own suggestive stones. Notes on the rocks and collecting are included. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews

With sharp eyes, endless patience and vivid imagination, McGuirk seeks and finds rocks in the shapes of alphabet letters and items representing those letters.

Using these finds and some inventive photography, she has created a most unusual alphabet book. The opening spread lays out all the amazingly accurate stone letters (some uppercase, some lowercase) on a background of soft, natural, earthy beige. Each letter is given its own page, and some have a double-page spread. The letter-shaped rock names the shape—as in "e is for elephant"—and the remarkable rock shapes either stand alone or are given props. The "ghost" rocks float eerily on a black background, while "K is for kick" aims a foot-shaped rock at a bright-orange ball. The seahorse floats among seaweed, and a rock mitten is paired with one made of wool. Some of the more conceptual references stretch the imagination a bit, and little ones may need some explanation. For "U is for up," two animal-shaped rocks play on a seesaw; too bad there was no umbrella or unicorn rock to be found. The ever-difficult "x" is the only disappointment; "x is for xoxo" depicts a pudgy figure that kind of resembles two people kissing, but this may be a stretch for children. An author's note provides additional information about McGuirk's dedicated collection process.

Begs to be pored over again and again.(Alphabet book. 3-10)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582463957
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

LESLIE MCGUIRK says that when she was a child she wanted to be a game warden in Africa. Instead, she grew up to become an author and illustrator whose favorite topic is the animals she loves so much.
Leslie is the author-illustrator of many children's books, including the Tucker the Dog books, Pip the Penguin, and Wiggens Learns His Manners at the Four Seasons.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    One of the best books in my collection to use with children to e

    One of the best books in my collection to use with children to entertain and teach! Can't wait for the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2011

    Highly recommend

    What a wonderful opportunity for children to practice the letters of the alphabet and become more aware of the world around them.....curious children will be looking for their own rocks!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2011

    Great for science and alphabet recognition

    this is a very unique book that has rocks shaped like the letters of the alphabet. I thought the photos were great and the kids in my kindergarten class loved them. We read this book during our rock unit in science, and it reinforced the ABC's. A great book for the classroom!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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