Stone Wall Secrets

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Overview

As he and his grandson walk along the stone walls surrounding his New England farm, an old man shares stories about the geologic history of the stones as well as some of the memories they hold for him.

As he and his grandson walk along the stone walls surrounding his New England farm, an old man shares stories about the geologic history of the stones as well as some of the memories they hold for him.

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Overview

As he and his grandson walk along the stone walls surrounding his New England farm, an old man shares stories about the geologic history of the stones as well as some of the memories they hold for him.

As he and his grandson walk along the stone walls surrounding his New England farm, an old man shares stories about the geologic history of the stones as well as some of the memories they hold for him.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This elegantly designed book has an intriguing premise but loses its potential in a scattered focus and overburdened text. As the story opens, Adam's grandfather mulls over a difficult proposition: a stonemason's letter offers him an attractive sum for the rocks that compose the walls surrounding his New England farmstead. As Adam and his grandfather deliberate while walking the grounds, Grampa attempts to awaken in his grandson an affection for these stones as living history: "The walls were like a library, stacked high with earthen books." However, the authors soon bury any semblance of a story under layers of geologic, anthropological and familial information. The well-meaning text devolves into an environmental treatise, eschewing narrative credibility (e.g., Adam "slipped the grainy, white stone into his pocket, like a paperback book to be read on a rainy day"). Unfortunately, the pictorial representations of the grandfather's visions which imply his nearly mystical connection to rocks do little to lighten things up. First-timer Moore's illustrations, defined by ink lines and subtle colors, are mostly stiff and static, and often miss opportunities to clarify the text. Ages 8-12. (July) FYI: An 80-page teacher's guide is scheduled for release in August ($8.95 ISBN -196-4).
Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
To sell or not to sell. That is the dilemma facing an old farmer who has been approached by a stonemason to sell the rocks from old stone walls around his property. Not sure how to handle the situation, the old man invites his grandson, Adam, over to help him make the right decision. As the pair walks around the farm to inspect the stone walls, the grandfather shares stories about the geologic history of the stones, as well as personal memories that he holds dear. Colorful artwork and historical facts about the ocean, glaciers, and other forces that shaped the rocks effectively transport readers back in time to the Ice Age and early New England farms. This heartfelt picture book features a well-crafted story, detailed descriptions, and distinctive paintings. After reading this outstanding publication, readers will never look at old stones the same way again.
Children's Literature - Helen Pavick
The Thorsons bring us an unforgettable story of the amazing survival of our earth and its inhabitants from long, long ago. You'll take a glorious historical journey with Adam and Grampa, and learn fascinating tidbits about the period in time that each stone wall they visit represents-a time when glaciers flowed freely, mammoths roamed the grasslands, and nomads roasted meat over fires. Parents will want to read this book with their children, and learn together about the wonderful history of the earth and the courage of our ancestors. Stone Wall Secrets promises to engage readers at every age, and will be a favorite of generations for years to come.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-A grandfather gives his grandson a lesson in geology, history, and family pride as they examine the stone walls defining his New England farmstead. From shale formed beneath prehistoric seas to the campfires of Paleoindians to the oxen teams and stone sleds of the European pioneers and his own boyhood, the elderly man gently presents a panorama spanning eons, rounded off with his family memories. Often filling two pages, the colorful, realistic paintings provide a clear picture of past and present as the pair try to decide if they should accept a stonemason's offer to buy the walls for reconstruction elsewhere. Rather didactic in tone, the book has a teacher's guide (subtitled Exploring Geology in the Classroom) by geologist Ruth Deike. While there is plenty here for inquiring minds, casual readers may be few, but imagine a unit on walls, complete with geology, history, art, and geography. Consider pairing this book with such titles as Frances Weller's luminous Matthew Wheelock's Wall (1992), Leonard Fisher's monolithic The Great Wall of China (1986, both Macmillan), and Margy Knight's Talking Walls (1992) and Talking Walls: The Stories Continue (1996, both Tilbury House), perhaps introduced by a reading of Frost's poem, "Mending Walls."-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780884482291
  • Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/2003
  • Edition description: Story with geology facts
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 961,240
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.10 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 19, 2010

    an enjoyable read

    Of what possible use could a bunch of old stone walls on a farm be to a young person today? Adam's grandfather lives on a New England farm with many old stone walls. A mason wants to buy all the stones for buildings in the city, and Grandpa wonders what Adam thinks about it. At first, Adam suggests that Grandpa just get rid of them and make some money. But Grandpa says that it's not so simple. As the two walk along the walls, Grandpa tells Adam how the stone began as sediment from an ancient ocean, then was thrust up as mountains when continents collided, and was scraped and carried by scouring glaciers.
    Then Grandpa reminds Adam how Paleoindians used the stones for hunting mammoths, how the settlers dug them out of the ground to build the walls, and finally how he himself and his sister played on them when they were children. Co-author Robert Thorson is a professor of geology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Along with Adam, the reader learns how fascinating geology can be, but in addition this charming story also shows a positive family dynamic between different generations. Also, it is said that Adam was adopted, and as the father of two adopted sons I always appreciate books for young people which portray adopted children in typical family relationships. It was quite an enjoyable read. An accompanying teacher's guide for using the book to explore geology in the classroom by Ruth Deike is also available.

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