Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

( 33 )

Overview

On a rainy day, Sylvester finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion frightens him on his way home, Sylvester makes a wish that brings unexpected results. How Sylvester is eventually reunited with his loving family and restored to his true self makes a story that is beautifully tender and filled with true magic. Illustrated with William Steig's glowing pictures, this is a modern classic beloved by children everywhere. ...
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Overview

On a rainy day, Sylvester finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion frightens him on his way home, Sylvester makes a wish that brings unexpected results. How Sylvester is eventually reunited with his loving family and restored to his true self makes a story that is beautifully tender and filled with true magic. Illustrated with William Steig's glowing pictures, this is a modern classic beloved by children everywhere. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is a winner of the Caldecott Medal.

In a moment of fright, Sylvester the donkey asks his magic pebble to turn him into a rock but then can not hold the pebble to wish himself back to normal again.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
While hurrying home to show his parents a wish-granting pebble, Sylvester the donkey is startled by a hungry lion emerging from the bushes. Flustered, Sylvester wishes he were a rock, and is immediately transformed. A year later, Sylvester's grieving parents go for a picnic and choose the rock that is Sylvester as their table. Sylvester's father happens to find the magic pebble and places it on the table, just as Sylvester wishes he were himself again. With great joy, the family is reunited.
Publishers Weekly
Thanks to the rediscovery of the original watercolor artwork, in preparation for an exhibit of William Steig's work (see Children's Bookshelf, Oct. 27), newly restored edition of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, complete with Steig's acceptance speech for the Caldecott Medal, makes the book look better than ever. This tale of a donkey who wishes on a magic pebble has charmed a generation of readers and will no doubt go on to attract a new one. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Like many children, Sylvester has a collection of beautiful stones. One day he finds an especially extraordinary pebble and discovers it grants his every wish. He can stop the rain and turn a fierce lion passive. Conflict arises when, without forethought, Sylvester turns himself into a large stone. Without hands, he cannot hold the pebble and make a wish to return himself to normal. There seems no solution to the problem, so month after month he remains a stone. His parents bring resolution when, during an afternoon picnic, they find the pebble and place it on the rock. Sylvester transforms into a donkey and realizes that he has everything he has always wanted. It is so easy to identify with Sylvester. His childlike expression and his faith in the magical stone touch the believer in all of us. His wanting more out of life is a universal issue. The problem is surprising and seemingly insurmountable. Children will get great joy from exploring ways to help Sylvester. This book, originally released in 1969 has been re-issued with the bright, cheerful watercolor illustrations the author originally intended. Awarded the Caldecott Award Medal in 1970, the story will continue to delight a new generation of children. 2005 (orig. 1969), Simon and Schuster, Ages 4 to 8.
—Elizabeth Allen
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Originally published in 1971, this Caldecott winner is being reissued along with a puzzle to commemorate its 25th anniversary as a favorite of children everywhere. Sylvester is a donkey who loves to collect pebbles. When he finds a particular round, red pebble, strange things begin to happen. This lovely fable, which is about being careful what you wish for, will delight young readers with its whimsical animal drawings and its happy resolution. The 10-piece puzzle seems too simple for a child willing to listen to a 25-page book, but the story is charming.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671662691
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 4/2/1987
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 36,075
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Meet the Author

William Steig (1907–2003) received the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and received countless honors and awards for his children’s books, which are loved by readers young and old. Born in New York City, he spent much of his life in Massachusetts before his death in 2003.

James Earl Jones is a beloved and award-winning actor who has achieved success in television, film, and theater. From voicing Darth Vader to The Lion King’s Mufasa, his vocal talent is widely known and appreciated. Recipient of everything from Tonys and Emmys to the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, he most recently starred in the Broadway production of Driving Miss Daisy. He lives in Pawling, New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 33 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2009

    I loved this book as a kid!

    I rediscovered this story recently, after seeing it on "Reading Rainbow." As a kid, I was thrilled by the story of Sylvester, a donkey who finds a magic pebble and accidentally wishes that he were a rock. The story stuck with me all of these years, and I recently read it to my 4 year old daugther. I will admit, at first reading, she was upset by the story, since Sylvester's parents cannot find him for a long, long time and she just didn't understand why he wasn't turning back into a donkey. Upon the 2nd reading (and many more after that!) this part of the story became less important, and she now loves it. We love taking turns thinking of things we would wish for with a magic pebble, and we talk about how important each person of our family is; we are thrilled by Sylvester's reuniuon with his family. I love being able to pass down a favorite story from my childhood!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 8, 2012

    A Child's Desires, Parental Love

    In this magical story, Sylvester Duncan finds an "extraordinary" pebble that turns out to be a magic pebble. If only such a pebble existed, I'm sure we all would have what we wanted, and that is exactly what Sylvester intends to do. Before Sylvester is able to make it home, he is confronted by a hungry lion and in a sudden moment of fear for his life, he wishes himself into a rock. Consequently, Sylvester's parents are unable to find their son anywhere, which leads to a fruitless search and several seasons of life without Sylvester. The cartoon illustrations depicting the backgrounds easily "convey his terrible state of loneliness and isolation." It isn't until one day that his parents happen to set up a picnic on this rock and find the magic pebble that Sylvester uses to finally change back into himself and reunite with his parents. The elements of talking animals, magical pebbles, and a happy ending make this a wonderful selection for any child.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2012

    Highly Recommend

    I read this book to my grandson's second grade class and they were all intrigued by it. It was definitely a big hit for a group of eight year olds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2011

    endearing, engaging

    This story is a bit longer than some picture books, but our children love this book and now our grandchildren ask to have it read to them again and again. It opens up some interesting discussions about wishes with even very young children.

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Oh no! I'm a rock!

    I purchased this delightful award winning Wm. Steig book for the purpose of 'telling' it to five classes of combined 1st and 2nd graders at an elementary school in Denver. Even tho it was first published in a year before any of these kids were born, I figured a goodly many would likely already had heard or read of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble because the elements of magic and reality in this wonderful story are blended so perfectly for children between the ages of four and eight. However, in each of my classes, which consist of seven and eight year olds, I was rather surprised to discover that only one or two already knew the story about the young donkey and the magical shiny red pebble that granted wishes! Nevertheless, they were more than happy and eager to hear how their 'Story Teller' was going to 'deliver' it -- which, when it comes to ANY of William Steig's books, is an easy and fun thing to do. The man was an absolute genius when it came to writing children's books and his imaginative, yet simple illustrations equaled his writing. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is a prime example of that genius.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

    A great book! My son loved it when he was little, but I sold it in a garage sale last year. He wanted it for his son, so I was able to find it in the store. Truly a timeless story.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    Sylvester is Magic

    "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble" is lovely, moving, though-provoking story. Steig's story and pictures are delightful. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted April 14, 2009

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

    This was an excellent story to read and share with my three and a half year old grandson.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2007

    Beware of what you wish for

    This book certainly teaches kids to watch out for what you wish for because you just might get it, but not in the way you wanted. This is a very well written and enjoyable book with a moral, such as you might find in a fable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2007

    Review

    William Steig was born in New York City into a family of artists. He is a widely acclaimed cartoonist, and author-illustrator of books. In 1970, he won the Caldecott Medal for his book Sylvester And The Magic Pebble. He now lives in Boston, Massachusetts. Sylvester is a donkey who lived with his parents, and enjoyed collecting pebbles. One day while on vacation, he found a shinny red pebble. It was raining, and while Sylvester was holding the red pebble he whished that it would stop raining. All of the sudden, the rain stopped. He laid that pebble on the ground, and made another wish. Only this time, the wish did not happen. Realizing that he had a magic pebble, he headed home. On the way there, he saw a hungry lion. Not knowing what to do, he wished he was a rock. Instantly, he turned into a rock. Since he was not holding the pebble, he could not wish himself back into a donkey. His parents were worried when he did not come home. The seasons changed from summer to fall, from fall to winter, and from winter to spring, and the whole time Sylvester remained a rock. One day his parents decided to go on a picnic, and they decided to have lunch in the very spot the Sylvester had been laying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2007

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

    This book is about a young donkey who finds a magic pebble that rants wises. On his way home to show his parents his magic pebble, Sylvester I s startled by a hungry lion he automatically wishes he was a rock. However, there is a twist to the story Sylvester and his parents are united again. Finish reading the book and find out how they are untied. Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

    This book is great for children k-5! It has a great moral, Be Careful what you wish for! It is about a Donkey who finds a magic pebble and wishes for different things. Once he is turned into a rock he cannot wish himself back! He lays there thinking..' I wish I were myself again' and it is up to his family to save the day! In the end the father puts the pebble in a safe place and says..' Someday they might want to use it but for now they had all they could wish for!Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. New York, NY: Childrens Publishing Division, 1970.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2007

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

    William Steig began his career at the age of sixty-one. When others his age were planning retirement, Steig was planning to write. Sylvester and The Magic Pebble was his third book. He was later given the title ¿King of Cartoons¿ by Newsweek magazine. William Steig will be celebrating his 100th birthday this year on November 14th. This book is a delightful story about a donkey named Sylvester who finds a magic pebble. He accidentally turns himself into a rock. He wished to be turned back to a donkey, but it did not work because he had to touching the pebble for its magic to work. His parents became very worried about him. As the seasons passed they decided that they had to go on with their lives. One sunny day they went for a walk and had a picnic right on poor Sylvester¿s back. This book defiantly deserved to win the Caldecott honor. The pictures are very colorful and detailed. The animals are shown in different poses such as walking on two feet and on all fours. The pictures could almost tell the story by themselves. They are very artistic and well drawn out. Steig, William. Sylvester and The Magic Pebble. N.Y., New York. Aladdin Paperbacks Children¿s Publishing Division 1969. Reading Level 4.0

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2007

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble- William Steig

    Sylvester likes to collect pebbles of unusual shape and color. One day he was looking for pebbles down by the river . It was a beautiful pebble. 'flaming red, shiny, and perfectly round, like a marble.' This pebble turned out to be magical. Sylvester was so excited. However on his way home he came across a hungry lion. He wished that he was a rock, and he became a rock. He waited until the lion left then relized that he could not change back. No matter how hard he wished he couldn't change back. Will Sylvester ever be able to change back? What will happen when his parents finds out that he is missing? This and more will be answered in this book. William Steig wrote this wonderful tale. This is one of my favorite books because it basically says be happy with what you have and be careful what you wish for. It also says that you don't know what you have until it is gone. This book is for a reading level between the ages of four to eight years of age. Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2007

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is a great and enjoyable story about a donkey that finds a magic pebble. Sylvester Duncan¿s hobby is ¿collecting pebbles of unusual shape and color.¿ One day while Sylvester was sitting in the rain he found an extraordinary ¿flaming red, shiny, and perfectly round¿ pebble. As he was looking and examining the pebble he said ¿I wish it would stop raining.¿ Guess what? It stopped raining and looked like it had never rained. Sylvester realized that he had a magic pebble. When he went upon ¿Strawberry Hill¿ he came upon a ¿hungry lion looking right at him.¿ When he wished to turn himself into a rock so the lion wouldn¿t eat him, he wasn¿t thinking carefully. Being a rock, he couldn¿t pick up the pebble so he was in trouble. When Sylvester didn¿t come home for dinner his parents got worried. They went looking for him and asking neighbors if they had seen Sylvester. Read to find out if they ever find Sylvester or if he lives as a rock forever. William Steig was called the ¿King of Cartoons¿ by Newsweek. I loved reading this story. I thought it was a very cute story and had great illustrations to go along with it. In this story he combined his talented cartoons with a great story. This story taught a very good lesson and I think this is a great book for young readers. He received two Newberry Honor Medals and two Caldecott Honor Medals.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2007

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

    This story is about a donkey named Sylvester that collects different and unusual pebbles. He finds a rare red pebble one day and quickly finds out that it is a magic pebble and he can make wishes come true. On his way home he runs into a hungry lion and the frightened donkey is so scared that he wishes himself into a rock. After the loin leaves Sylvester figures out that he cannot turn himself back into a donkey because now the pebble is laying on the ground bedside him and being a rock he has no way to pick it up to make his wish of becoming a donkey again. Sylvester is a rock for quite some time until one day his parents are having a picnic and ¿¿. Read to get the ending. This book is for a reading level between the ages of four to eight years of age. Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2006

    Caldecott Winner Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

    Have you ever wished that you had magic powers? After you read this book you may think again. Sylvester, who is a donkey, loves to collect unusual pebbles. One Saturday while he was out looking for new pebbles he comes across a very extraordinary one. This pebble had powers, and whoever was holding it got any wish they wanted. At first, he has very simple wishes, but on his way home he runs in to a ferocious lion. Sylvester could have wished for anything, but Sylvester then said, ¿I wish I were a rock.¿ At that instant Sylvester got his wish. Now he did not have any hands to hold the pebble so he could wish to be a donkey again. I feel like this is a wonderful book that really captivates the children¿s interest. As I read it to my five-year-old nephew he was trying to figure out ways to help Sylvester. This book is best suited for four to eight year olds although I believe anyone can enjoy it the way that I did. William Steig, who was born in 1907, and has unfortunately passed in 2003, wrote the book. Steig was brought up in New York. He was the child of a Jewish immigrant family. He graduated from Townsend Harris High School. He then attended City College of New York for two years, National Academy of Design for three years, then only five days at the Yale School of Fine Arts before dropping out of each. Steig did not write children¿s book until his sixties. He was at first a cartoonist, then a sculptor. He has since written over thirty children¿s books. Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1969.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2006

    Caldecott Winner!

    Sylvester loved to collect pebbles of all shapes and colors. One rainy day, he came across a red and shiny marble. As he was studying his new marble, he wished it would stop raining, and ¿to his great surprise the rain stopped. It didn¿t stop gradually as rains usually do. It ceased.¿ Sylvester was so amazed that his new pebble was magical that he started walking home, making wishes the whole way. All of the sudden, a mean lion began approaching him and not thinking, Sylvester said, ¿I wish I were a rock!¿ He was no longer in danger of the lion, but he was also stuck as a rock. What could he do? Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is a great book for children of all ages. Sylvester made many wishes, but he doesn¿t really think about the consequences of his wishes. Then without thinking he made one big wish that he alone could not undo. This story teaches children that while it is good to be able to wish for things and then have them come true, you really have to understand the consequences of your wishes (for sometimes, the results may not be what you were expecting). William Steig was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 14, 1907, and he spent his childhood living in the Bronx. Coming from a family of artists, he was inspired from a young age. His first painting lessons were given by his older brother. In high school, he created cartoons for the school newspaper. Creating cartoons eventually turned out to be what carried his family through the Great Depression. Steig did not begin to write children¿s books until he was close to the age most people retire. He soon became one of the best of the best when his third book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, won the Caldecott Medal. William Steig died in 2003 at the age of 95. Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1969. RL: Ages 4-8, Grades PreK-3

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2006

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is a Caldecott medal book. Sylvester is a donkey that finds a magic pebble. ¿What a lucky day this is!¿ thought Sylvester. ¿From now on I can have anything I want.¿ The pebble makes wishes come true. Everything was going good until a lion scared the donkey. Sylvester makes a wish and to find out what happens to Sylvester you have to check out the book and read it. This book is suitable for grades 1-4. I enjoyed this book. Steigs pictures brings the story to life. This is a fantasy book. William Steig wrote and illustrated this book. Steig has received many honorable awards. Steig is now deceased. Steig got his ideal for the character of the donkey from a large rock that looked like Sylvester outside of his studio. Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Stone. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2006

    My Review

    What would you wish for if you had a magic wishing pebble? A new toy? A pony? A million dollars? Sylvester is a young little donkey who is very fond of his pebble collection. While exploring one day, Sylvester finds a glorious, shiny, red pebble. He knows instantly that he¿s found a very special piece to add to his collection, but never in his wildest dreams could he imagine that the pebble would be magic! When rain begins to fall and Sylvester says, ¿I wish it would stop raining.¿ Poof! - no more rain. He quickly realizes that the shiny, red pebble that he holds in his hoof was what made his wish come true. Soon after his exciting discovery, Sylvester sees a big, burly lion quickly approaching him. Sylvester gets frightened and before even thinking he says, ¿I wish I were a rock.¿ Poof! Sylvester becomes a rock and the pebble rolls onto the grass beside of him. How will he ever turn back into a Donkey again?

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