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The Waterstone

The Waterstone

5.0 1
by Rebecca Rupp

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"The well-crafted tale and careful attention to detail will have young readers forgetting that the characters are only a few inches tall. . . . An amazing journey of surprising proportions." —KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)

The world is drying. Twelve-year-old Tad — who is only a few inches tall — doesn’t even notice it at


"The well-crafted tale and careful attention to detail will have young readers forgetting that the characters are only a few inches tall. . . . An amazing journey of surprising proportions." —KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)

The world is drying. Twelve-year-old Tad — who is only a few inches tall — doesn’t even notice it at first. Busy practicing with his new spear, arguing with his sister, Birdie, and living the normal life of a youngling of the Fisher Tribe, he thinks little of a stream slowed to a trickle here, a pond suddenly dwindling there. But Tad begins to have strange flashbacks — glimpses of the past that he knows can't possibly be his own. With these "rememberings" haunting him, he and Birdie begin an adventure marked by great sorrows, fierce battles, and unbreakable friendships. In this remarkable rite of passage, Tad grows to know who he really is and what his destiny holds. For only he can restore the water and save the forests and animals and Tribes.

Only he can retrieve the Waterstone.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The Fishers have noticed that the ponds are ebbing and that is a signal for a Drying Time. Tad and his sister Birdie set out with their father, Pondleweed, to see if they can find what is causing the problem. Everyone soon realizes that the precious Waterstone is missing. The safety of the world is at stake! The family and their watch frog, Pippit, see many unusual things and meet wee folk from the Diggers and Hunters along the way. Tad experiences flashbacks or "remembrances" and soon realizes that he is the new Sagamore, the hope for recovering the stone, which is in the clutches of the evil Nixie. His strength is not powerful enough to save Pondleweed who was lured into the Black Lake by bewitching music. Evil forces threaten to undermine the recovery and danger lurks throughout the forest. Nasty Grellers riding threatening weasels, creepy snakes, and the Owl of Death, pit themselves against the band of heroes. Aided by Pippit, a small Digger boy, a red-tailed hawk, Dryads, and many others, Tad faces the Nixie in a dramatic and satisfying confrontation. Lovers of adventure and fantasy will surely be riveted to a story so rich in description and action. 2002, Candlewick Press,
— Laura Hummel
When Tad, a twelve-year-old Fisher boy, tries to retrieve his new spear that has accidentally fallen into the pond, his life is changed forever. Diving beneath the water's surface, he hears a strange voice calling him. That evening at dinner, his father Pondleweed expresses concern that their pond and the surrounding area is drying up. Along with Tad's sister Birdie, they set out to discover the cause. Tad begins to have mysterious flashbacks in which he recalls another life where he is called the Sagamore, a champion who can save his people from "The Drying Time." When Pondleweed is killed, the children must go on alone, finding allies among the birds and animals and an ancient Dryad, Treegbu, who advises them. They discover that the Nixies have stolen the Waterstone and that Tad and Birdie must get it back. Tad tries to unite the tribes of his world, the Fishers, the Hunters, and the Diggers, so that they can fight the Nixies together. Ultimately, Tad alone must retrieve the Waterstone to save his world. This charming fantasy has strong characters and a fresh, innovative voice. Tad's people, a tiny species who can ride on bats, hawks, and weasels and who live in tree trunks and caves, are endearing and believable. An exciting quest, real danger, and an original culture make this novel an attractive purchase for Susan Cooper fans. The author's previous fantasy, The Dragon of Lonely Island (Candlewick, 1998) is still in print. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Candlewick, 275p, Wallace
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Tad, a boy of the Fisher Tribe, is growing worried. First he hears a strange, seductive voice calling him from under his family's pond. Then he starts experiencing "remembers," memories of other places, people, and times, that are not his own. Worst of all, the water from his pond and from other parts of their world is drying up. After his father's disappearance, Tad and his younger sister, Birdie, travel among the different Tribes of their world-the Hunters, the Diggers, and animals-to find the Waterstone that will restore the world's balance. At the same time Tad discovers that his mind holds the memories of past Sagamores-those who were charged with protecting the Waterstone from the Nixies-as well as the powers they held. This book deceptively starts out as an adventure story and ends on a somewhat epic note. Tad, an ordinary enough boy blessed/burdened with power and memories of a past not his own, acts like a typical child. He is uncertain and frightened and convincingly annoyed at Birdie. She and their father, Pondleweed, seem too good to be true at times. Pondleweed's self-sacrifice at the end, though, will bring tears to the eyes of many. The other characters and creatures are also engaging and interesting. Recommend this to readers who like Brian Jacques's "Redwall" series (Philomel), but are looking for a slight change of pace.-Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old Tad is too busy practicing with his new spear to notice the slow disappearance of the water, but soon the sounds of the creek have stopped and the water is dropping in the pond. His father, Pondleweed, tells him that the land is entering the "Drying Time," and together with Tad's younger sister, Birdie, the three set out to determine what might be causing the drought. Like most good members of the Fisher Tribe, the family has not often traveled far from their own pond, but after meeting members of the other tribes, they realize that not everyone does things the same way. Tad's first visions come to him as hints of memories or the sounds of a distance voice, but they grow in intensity as his mysterious gift strengthens. Soon Tad learns that he is the Sagamore and only he can battle the magical forces that are threatening all the creatures of the forest. Along with the supernatural quest, Tad and Birdie learn some global lessons regarding heartache and the importance of diversity and freedom. The well-crafted tale and careful attention to detail will have young readers forgetting that the characters are only a few inches tall, as they submerge themselves in Tad's amazing adventure. An amazing journey of surprising proportions. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

Read an Excerpt

"I was not spying," Birdie said in an unpeaceful, offended sort of voice. "I don't spy." She pointed to a tangled heap of woven pea vines beside her in the grass. "I was mending the fishtrap net."

She bit her lip, studying Tad's red face.

"Spear throwing just takes practice," she said. "You have to be patient. It's like Father says: 'Berries don't ripen overnight.'"

So she was watching, Tad thought. It was nice of Birdie to try to be comforting. But he just wasn't in the mood right now to hear himself compared to a green berry. He was sick of being a green berry. He wanted to be brave and powerful and admired, like the heroes and warriors in Pondleweed's stories. Like Bog the Weaselkiller who wore a collar of gold nuggets and weasel claws and carried a spear made of blood-red agate that never missed a foe. Or like Frostwort the Winterborn who fought the White Fox of Far Mountain with nothing but a slingshot and a magic silver pebble.

"I'll be right back," he told Birdie gruffly. "I have to get my spear."

He turned and ran toward the pond, darting out along a half-submerged log at the water's edge. He hesitated for a moment, judging just where his spear had fallen in. Then, in one swift fluid motion, he dived. The clear green water of the pond closed over his head.

Tad was as at home in the water as a fish. Like all Fisher children, he had learned to swim even before he had learned to walk, first splashing in the shallows, then paddling in the deeper water with a floatstick to hang on to, and finally gliding smoothly through the deeps, sleek and slippery as a young otter or a slim brown minner. His green-brown hair flattened slickly to his head, and flaps of skin sealed his nostrils shut to keep the water from going up his nose. He kicked expertly, his wide brown feet with their long webbed toes sweeping strongly through the cool water. He turned a somersault and then began to paddle slowly back and forth, his eyes searching the pond bottom for the spear.

The underwater world gleamed. Ribbons of sunlight wove back and forth across the sandy bottom, tangling themselves together, then untangling themselves and swiftly sliding away again. Silky strands of eelweed brushed Tad's legs. A fat spotted rock bass - twice as long as Tad himself - poked a curious nose out from a cluster of water lily stems and goggled foolishly up at him. Its big bulging eyes were slightly crossed. It opened and closed its mouth twice, blew a bubble, and slowly withdrew, wiggling backward with a furl of fins and tail. Tad puffed his cheeks and blew a bubble back. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of red and black. It was the spear, resting neatly on a bed of mud and pebbles, looking somehow pleased with itself, as if it had never made a mistake in its life. He scowled at the spear resentfully and began to swim toward it, stretching out a hand to pick it up.

Then - suddenly - something about the pond felt different. Wrong.
At first it was only a nervous ripple and a creepy feeling between his shoulder blades. Then a thump of alarm. Tad twisted in the water, looking anxiously about him. Something was wrong. It was as if something malevolent - a watersnake? - had suddenly turned its head and looked directly at him. Watching with angry little eyes. But where was it? No danger was in sight, but the peaceful and familiar pond felt hostile. The stems and leaves of the water plants were frightening forests; the rocks, dark lairs of lurking terrors. His skin prickled, his heart began to pound, and the hair stood up on the back of his neck.


There were strange toadstools and funguses deep in the forest that sometimes shone at night with an eerie green light, standing out like ghostly fires from their dark surroundings. Glowmolds, Pondleweed called them. Tad, hanging fearfully in the water, felt just like that - like a glowmold, helplessly illuminated, caught in a puddle of light with no place to hide. He felt more and more frightened. Something was watching him. He could feel it. He turned his head desperately from side to side, but nothing was there. Nothing he could see.

Are you the One?

The voice, cool and clear as spring water, echoed inside his head. It was an inhuman, somehow empty voice, the sort of voice that the wind or the rain might have if it could speak. It seemed to come from no direction and from all directions at once. At first it reminded Tad of bell music and chimes; then it grew colder and harder until it sounded like breaking icicles or like frozen pebbles dropped on a silver plate.

Are you the One? Is it you?

Whoever it was meant him no good, Tad was sure of that. He wanted to run and hide, but there was nowhere to go, no way he could tear himself free. A confusing swirl of images filled his brain, like pictures from half-forgotten dreams: a strange silver-eyed face framed in a cloud of pale green hair; a blue-lit chamber paved with pearls and patterned tiles; then - where? - a blaze of flaming torches and a great stone mountain whose cliffs mysteriously moved and shifted; and over all a thundering tide of dark water through which ran the sound of voices, many voices, singing some high sweet song.

What's happening? he thought frantically. Who are you? And the voice, like an icy silver dagger, answered.

Do you not remember? I am Azabel.

THE WATERSTONE by Rebecca Rupp. Copyright (c) 2002 by Rebecca Rupp. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

Meet the Author

Rebecca Rupp has written nonfiction articles for many national magazines on topics ranging from the history of blue jeans to the science of ice cream. She is also the author of several books, including the Book Sense 76 pick THE DRAGON OF LONELY ISLAND. Rebecca Rupp says of THE WATERSTONE, "When Josh, my oldest son, was six, he invented Pondleweed, a mysterious and magical caretaker of trees, streams, and frog ponds. From that first image of Pondleweed came the entire world of The Waterstone and all the people, places, and magic in it."

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Waterstone 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty good. It was an easy, simple book, but it was a good read. I would say kids as young as nine years old could understand it. Good book- worth your money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is very imaginative and suspensful. i love how the author describes the homes of thepeople, moss beds, living in an awesome carved out hollow tree, it all sounds so cool like you would want to go and live there. What an awesome life to livE! I love the book and i think they should make a series because it is difinetly a good eye catcher.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The second I saw this book,I picked it up and began to read it.I read through the 15th chapter in the store and bought it imediatly. I could not put it down. It has to be the best book i've read in ages.