The Gift Stone

Overview

What would it be like to live in an underground house? Surrounded by the most beautiful gems in the world? Jean knows; she lives in Coober Pedy, an underground mining town in the Australian Outback, where her father mines for opals—gift stones. But as extraordinary as her life is, she yearns for what most children already have—a real home and the opportunity to go to a real school. So when Jean discovers a beautiful opal hidden in the wall of her aunt's underground house, everything changes. Her family helps Jean...
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Overview

What would it be like to live in an underground house? Surrounded by the most beautiful gems in the world? Jean knows; she lives in Coober Pedy, an underground mining town in the Australian Outback, where her father mines for opals—gift stones. But as extraordinary as her life is, she yearns for what most children already have—a real home and the opportunity to go to a real school. So when Jean discovers a beautiful opal hidden in the wall of her aunt's underground house, everything changes. Her family helps Jean turn it into schoolbooks, clothes, and even a spare bed in her grandparents' home in Adelaide. In this modern-day fairy tale, Jean learns that sometimes wishes can come true, especially the more they mean to you.

Jean, who lives underground in an Australian opal mining town, finds a precious stone large enough to allow her to move into a proper house with her grandparents.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Coober Pedy, a dusty, Australian opal-mining town, is the setting for this quietly effective story. Jean and her father live in a dwelling built underground where "The walls are rock, streaked rust-orange and white, the doorways are rock, the floors, everything is cool, hard rock." In spite of her love for her dad, the girl longs for a real house with windows, a house surrounded by grass. Her grandparents live in just such a place. Jean describes it as "...like living inside an opal-the biggest, brightest opal there ever was." When Grandma sells an opal that Jean gave her and uses the proceeds to pay for the expenses of having her granddaughter move in, she says, "The opal was a lovely present...but having you here will be an even better present for me." Serious, realistic paintings are well suited to the understated yet evocative text. Each page has a solid brown background, re-creating the confinement and dust of Coober Pedy, but the illustrations depicting outdoor scenes are filled with light. Each painting captures a precise moment in time, making the whole book look like a series of stills. The Australian terminology is minimal and creates no barrier to comprehension. A child's wistful longing unexpectedly fulfilled comes through plain and clear in this lovely offering.-Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679886846
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/13/1998
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.33 (w) x 10.36 (h) x 0.38 (d)

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