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Richie’s Picks: OLD ROCK (IS NOT BORING) by Deb Pilutti, Putnam, February 2020, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-525-51818-1


“Ah how does it feel?

To be on your own

With no direction home

Like a complete unknown

Like a rolling stone”

-- Bob Dylan (1965)


“Time passed, things changed, and the world chilled.

Which wasn’t too bad, because Old Rock took a ride in a glacier and toured the land.

‘Once the glacier melted, it left me perched at the top of a ridge, and I could see the place where the sky touches the earth.’

‘My, you have seen a lot,’ said Spotted Beetle.

‘How unusual,’ said Hummingbird.

‘Yes, but that was ages ago,’ said Tall Pine.”


Do you have a favorite rock? Mine’s called Red Rock. It’s huge. It’s located a few hours north of San Francisco, along the Eel River, in Mendocino County. An hour’s trek from the nearest road, Red Rock forms the backdrop of a spectacular, deep swimming hole. 


I fear that the pandemic won’t be sufficiently under control to permit us to head up there around the Fourth of July. That’s usually when the water has warmed up for swimming, but before the river’s flow diminishes and the algae blooms take over. Most likely, we’ll have to wait until summer 2021 to return there.


Meanwhile, I have long-ago photos to show my grandkids: my younger self hiking in the blazing heat, along abandoned railroad tracks, heading for Red Rock with their mama riding high in a toddler backpack. 


Red Rock isn’t going anywhere--at least not in the short term. The same is true with Old Rock.


“Old Rock has been sitting in the same spot, at the edge of a clearing in the middle of a pine forest for as long as anyone could remember.

And even before that.”


But that does not mean that Old Rock has been sitting there forever. 


In  OLD ROCK (IS NOT BORING), the large grey rock explains to its friends how it came to be situated in its current location. We learn that it started out by being erupted out of a volcano. It experienced the age of dinosaurs, rode a glacier and eventually--thanks to an earthquake-- tumbled into its current resting place.


This all makes OLD ROCK (IS NOT BORING) an excellent introductory earth science book for 5- to 10-year-olds.


It has me recalling the long-ago high school Earth Science class in which the teacher excitedly explained plate tectonic theory. I vividly recall that lesson, having taken place at a time when the then-revolutionary theory had gained widespread scientific acceptance, but hadn’t yet been included in textbooks. 


As befits its audience, OLD ROCK (IS NOT BORING) includes a dose of humor, including sight gags, as well as the lively talking tree, ladybug, and hummingbird.


I’d combine this read with either adopting pet rocks or an art project involving small rocks that kids could adorn with facial features.


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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