Wet Pebbles under Our Feet


“Far away in the deep blue sea . . .”

For one little girl this is how all stories begin. They are family stories of her mother’s childhood on a small island with a pebbly shore. And now the little girl is going to that island. It is her first visit, but in all the ways that matter she is going home.

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“Far away in the deep blue sea . . .”

For one little girl this is how all stories begin. They are family stories of her mother’s childhood on a small island with a pebbly shore. And now the little girl is going to that island. It is her first visit, but in all the ways that matter she is going home.

Acclaimed author-illustrator Manya Stojic shows us how shared stories and memories bind a family together. And we witness the magical moment when this youngest member of the family makes the stories her own.

A visit to Grandpa and Grandma on their pebbly island brings alive old family stories.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fresh fish soup, pirate games and ferry boat rides to school are some of the happy memories freshly served in this playful, sensuous tale of family reminiscences. Stojic (Rain) picturesquely portrays a pink-hatted girl who accompanies her mum and two uncles on her first trip to their childhood island home. Large, heavy brushstrokes, simple lines and sunny colors engulf readers in a visually gratifying experience. Alternating between the boat trip and the adults' sea-drenched recollections, the illustrations use distinct close-up perspectives to invite readers into the scenes. (In one, readers are eye-to-eye with a boy stretched out on his stomach across pebbly sand, smiling from behind one hand as he mischievously holds a bright red crab with the other.) Stojic's subtly sophisticated mixing of scale, perspective and color evoke motion (the undulation of sparkling waves across cobalt seas), while her unembellished text, in big black fonts of varying size, evokes emotion (e.g., the affection with which the grown-ups recall the small pleasures of their island childhood: "There's nothing like the feel of wet pebbles under your feet. Wet and cool and smooth"). Readers pulled in by the elegant simplicity of this book will savor the girl's "homecoming" as she takes her own first walk on the pebbly island shore and implants herself into the family's story. Ages 5-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Yugoslavian born Stojic has a New York Times Best Illustrated Book (Rain) to her credit. She has lived as well in New York and Zimbabwe, and now in London. This book, full of luminous blues and yellows, has a feel of the Mediterranean. A little girl in a pink hat trimmed with a ladybug is traveling with her mother and two uncles to visit her grandparents on a tiny island in the sea. Sister and brothers reminisce on the way about playing pirates by the water, the smell of fragrant fish soup, and the coolness of smooth, wet pebbles on the beach. Welcomed by her grandmother and fisherman grandfather, the little girl smells the soup, feels the pebbles, and adds some memories of her own to the family stories. The bold oversized print of the simple text complements the spacious double-page gouache paintings ranging from the jewel-like island in its ultramarine sea to the soup ingredients—an aquamarine fish, scarlet tomatoes, and greenish-yellow olive oil. This book is a feast for the senses right down to the pretty turquoise endpapers with sea creatures sketched in white chalk. Family connections come through as warm and strong. Teachers and parents could find it a trigger for the youngest readers' own family stories, whether told, written, or painted. 2002, Knopf, Talcroft
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-A little girl takes a ferry ride with her mother and two uncles to visit her grandparents, who live "Far away in the deep blue sea [on] a small island with a pebbly shore." Even though this is her first visit, it already feels like home to her, thanks to the memories that her uncles and mother have shared with her about growing up on the island. The text is spare yet has warmth and detail. Stojic easily captures summertime recollections in such simple statements as "There's nothing like the feel of wet pebbles under your feet. Wet and cool and smooth." Her illustrations feature bold brush strokes of color that complement the equally bold, large, black type of the text, bringing the words to life. Indeed, readers will want to kick off their shoes and run their feet through the sand and multihued pebbles strewn about in the illustrations. Pair this with Aliki's Those Summers (HarperCollins, 1996) for some seasonal storyhour fun.-Lisa Gangemi Krapp, Middle Country Public Library, Centereach, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Traveling to the sea with her family, a little girl relives her mother's childhood on an island through her stories. Every story begins the same way: "Far away in the deep blue sea is a small island with a pebbly shore." Marco, Mara, and Mario live with their parents on an island in the middle of the blue sea. Their father is a fisherman, and their mother cooks the best fish soup around. Together, they play pirates and take the ferry to school, but now they are grown and together travel to visit their parents, taking Mara's little girl along as well. Each of the three adults has a different memory of the island, but they can all agree on one thing: the most wonderful part of growing up on an island is the feeling of wet pebbles under their bare feet as they walk along the beach. Bold text splashes across the lavishly applied swirls of paint that fill each page. The shiny blue sea and multicolored pebbles rendered in brilliant colors will entice readers to take off their shoes and join the little girl for a stroll along the beach and through her family's memories. Bright and shining like the sea. (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375815195
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 4/9/2002
  • Edition description: 1 AMER ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 12.34 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Manya Stojic’s first book, Rain, was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2000.
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