A STONE FOR SASCHA written and illustrated by Aaron Becker, is the wordless story of a girl trying to process the death of her dog. Initially, at least. Lushly illustrated in digital pastels, it soon expands to take on time and history and cosmology and the interconnectedness of things.
—The New York Times Book Review
After laying her beloved dog to rest, a girl finds peace with a smooth stone that has traveled the world through the ages, in this wordless picture book by Becker...Readers will be enticed to explore this book's beautiful, dreamlike pictures, and the message of healing will comfort many who have known loss. Memorable and moving.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In contrast to the watercolors of his Journey series, Becker uses digitally manipulated pastel strokes to give his spreads a thick, supersaturated feel. Yet, as in his previous work, the satisfaction flows from enchanting views of action that unfolds in fanciful scenes that range across time and cultures. Remnants of ancient history, readers will realize, may lie very close at hand, and, Becker suggests, perhaps nothing is ever truly lost.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
The parade of civilizations rising and falling into ruin allows Becker to depict a range of architectural styles and costumes, creating the sort of arresting panoramas introduced in the “Journey” trilogy...Combining a sensitive story line with high adventure and dramatic settings, this will inspire a variety of readers to envision histories of their own found objects.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Becker’s wordless picture book, with its large, evocative digital illustrations, shows a story that begins with heartbreak...Through the centuries, what was originally a large golden sphere is greatly reduced in size yet still serves an important purpose: to help ameliorate a young girl’s grief over the loss of her beloved pet.
This circular, layered tale is marked by Becker’s sumptuous, cinematic spreads. Even more epic than his Journey trilogy (Journey, rev. 9/13, and sequels), this is a story that provides new details and new understandings with multiple viewings.
—The Horn Book
The book asks us to reflect on the strings that bind us to each other, across great spans of time and space, to consider where we can locate solace in a time of loss, and how comfort can be found in unexpected places.
—The Boston Globe
This wordless picture book, with Becker's emotional, haunting paintings, invites children to wonder and to perhaps discover "their own epic story."
In thrilling pictures, eons unfold as we see the stone changing form with the rising and falling of civilizations: It is an obelisk, a building block, a keystone, a carved dragon and, eventually, a glowing stone for Sascha.
—The Wall Street Journal
K-Gr 3—This wordless story begins with a framed image of a girl embracing her dog. In the next spread, she gathers flowers for its burial. Subsequent readings reveal the foreshadowing in these opening compositions. The title's golden hue—echoed in the flowers, necklaces worn by the girl and her father, and more—is the color to follow. After the protagonist tosses a stone across the water during the family's subsequent vacation, the narrative hurtles into a prehistoric meteor shower (or the girl's imagination) yielding veins of gold deep in the earth. Digital paintings presented in sequential panels and full-bleed spreads follow the pilfering and transformation of this particular mineral sample. The parade of civilizations rising and falling into ruin allows Becker to depict a range of architectural styles and costumes, creating the sort of arresting panoramas introduced in the "Journey" trilogy. Here, though, browns and grays comprise the palette of the past; the scenes are infused with more sfumato, as if seen through the mists of time before believably bringing the action back to the present day. VERDICT Combining a sensitive story line with high adventure and dramatic settings, this will inspire a variety of readers to envision histories of their own found objects.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
After laying her beloved dog to rest, a girl finds peace with a smooth stone that has traveled the world through the ages, in this wordless picture book by Becker.A young black girl collects flowers for her dog's grave before the family leaves for vacation. At their campsite, they set up by the shore. Night is falling as the girl finds a smooth stone at the water's edge. A pictorial transition leads to depictions of the stone's formation under the earth as dinosaurs roamed. When the stone, enormous in the beginning, protrudes from the earth, it is carried to an ancient royal building and carved. Wars, looting, decay, and repurposing send the stone from one civilization to another, to be used in a religious monument, a bridge, a work of art. The golden stone seems to glow against the shades of gray and beige in the historical scenes, and again against the dark purple and mauve of the night at camp. When a voyage ends in a shipwreck, the stone sinks to the bottom of the sea and is later carried to shore, where the girl finds it. She looks at peace as she presses the stone to her face, eyes closed. In the final scene, the stone sits on the dog's burial mound as the girl and her brother play. Readers will be enticed to explore this book's beautiful, dreamlike pictures, and the message of healing will comfort many who have known loss.Memorable and moving. (Picture book. 4-10)