Following her other titles about eggs, seeds and butterflies, Aston now explains rocks in simple sentences, then expands to provide more information in sidebars. “A rock is lively” she begins, explaining about molten rock under the earth’s crust. “A rock is mixed up” is paired with a recipe for lapis lazuli, accompanied by detailed drawings of each mineral element. Aston’s great choice of words makes the book engaging as a read aloud; ‘galactic,’ ‘inventive,’ ‘ingest,’ ‘gizzard,’ and ‘creative’ all make an appearance, along with more standard rock vocabulary such as ‘jewel’ and ‘deposit.’
Teachers or parents looking to communicate basic information about the rock cycle or the three categories of rocks will find what they need here, but Aston also encourages the reader to think about rocks in a broader sense–that they helped humans create tools, to say nothing of cave paintings and architectural wonders. Many kids who start rock collections are the equivalent of magpies–‘shiny’ or ‘pretty’ is the main reason for their choices and interest. This book has plenty of shiny and pretty illustrations by Sylvia Long but hopefully by the end, they will have been entranced by the sentences and facts as well.
A Rock is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston, Chronicle Books, $16.99