Some people collect stamps. Other people collect coins. Carol Otis Hurst's father collected rocks. Nobody ever thought his obsession would amount to anything. They said, "You've got rocks in your head" and "There's no money in rocks." But year after year he kept on collecting, trading, displaying, and labeling his rocks. The Depression forced the family to sell their gas station and their house, but his interest in rocks never wavered. And in the end the science museum he had visited so often realized that a person with rocks in his head was just what was needed.
Anyone who has ever felt a little out of step with the world will identify with this true story of a man who followed his heart and his passion.
About the Author
Carol Otis Hurst is a storyteller, teacher, children's book critic, and columnist for Teaching K-8 Magazine. She is the author of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book Rocks in His Head.
James Stevenson is an op-ed contributor to the New York Times. His popular column, "Lost and Found New York," has appeared regularly in the newspaper since 2003. He was on the staff of The New Yorker for more than three decades; his work includes 2,000 cartoons and 80 covers, as well as reporting and fiction. He is also the author and illustrator of over 100 children's books. He lives in Connecticut.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Genre: Realistic FictionMedia: Watercolor and black penAge: Primary, intermediateReview: A man collecting rocks throughout his lifetime and then losing his job because of the Depression is very plausible. A lot of people lost their job during this time. The characters in the book are not real people also.
Not everyone is meant to own a gas station, but sometimes those with rocks in their head just do. From a young age, Mr. Otis loved rocks. Every where he went he was in search of the best rocks. He built shelves for them in his home and his gas station to proudly display his treasures. After the Great Depression, Mr. Otis had to sell his gas station and look for work. He spent some of his time admiring the rocks at the science museum. While there, a curator of the museum inquired about his fancy for the rocks on display. He explained to her that he has always had rocks in his head. She offered him a position as a janitor in the museum and he was delighted to be able to spend more time with the rocks at the museum. After a while, despite his lack of a college degree, the curator offered him a job as her assistant. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to have what you love occupy your head. Even if it's rocks!
This is a true story of the author's father, whose passion for rocks (even when other people teased him gently about it) eventually led him to become director of a museum and, in her own words, "probably the happiest man I ever knew".I love this one beyond belief. It's very sweet and nostalgic. Don't let it pass you by.I will say that it's probably better suited for the older end of the 4-8 range. It's a bit wordy, and some of the details about their lives - much of the book takes place during the Depression - are going to go right over the heads of the younger ones.