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William Steig - Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
One rainy day, Sylvester finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion frightens him on his way home, Sylvester... Read More
One rainy day, Sylvester finds a magic pebble that can make wishes come true. But when a lion frightens him on his way home, Sylvester makes a wish that brings unexpected results. How Sylvester is eventually reunited with his loving family and restored to his own donkey self makes a story that is beautifully tender and perfectly joyful. Illustrated with William Steig's glowing pictures, this winner of the 1970 Caldecott Medal is a modern classic beloved by children everywhere. Now reissued to celebrate the discovery of the original artwork, this deluxe edition contains painstakingly careful color corrections made from those watercolor originals -- the color you'll see within this book is as Mr. Steig had originally intended it to be. It also features his moving Caldecott Medal acceptance speech. The New York Times Book Review wrote of Mr. Minimize
9 Reviews from Epinions.com
Oct 13, 2008
Magic Pebble changes the life of a young donkey in an odd way.
Pros: Dramatic storyline and beautiful illustrations.
Cons: Small children might worry for Sylvester.
The Bottom Line:
“Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” is one of William Steig’s most heartwarming stories yet!Author's Review
“Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” is one of William Steig’s earlier books and has proven to be the most emotional and heartwarming of all of his books. Also, this was William Steig’s first controversial book due to the image of the police being portrayed as pigs, even though I do not think that it is an issue because all the characters are animals, but it depends on how you view this issue. Anyway, William Steig’s dramatic storyline and illustrations has won this book a Caldecott Book Award and will surely be a treat to read.
Sylvester Duncan lives with his mother and father at Acorn Road in the town of Oatsdale. One of Sylvester’s favorite hobbies was collecting pebbles thaw re unique in color and in shape. One rainy Saturday, Sylvester stumbles upon a strange shiny red pebble and he immediately wishes for the rain to stop and magically, the rain stops. Sylvester then starts thinking that the pebble must be magic and again, he wishes for the rain to come back as a test and the rain comes back. Sylvester is extremely excited about his find and decides to go back home to tell his friends and family.
Suddenly, Sylvester spots a ferocious lion coming towards him and he starts panicking. Now, you are probably thinking that Sylvester should have wished the lion to disappear or wished that the lion turned into a daisy, but if you were panicking like he was, you often can not really think straight in those kinds of situations, so Sylvester wished himself into a rock. The lion then comes and starts sniffing at the rock and then walks away. Sylvester, as a rock, now worries about the fact that he might not change back into himself since he can not reach the pebble. He then hopes that someone would find the pebble and wish him back to normal.
Back at home, Mr. and Mrs. Duncan began to worry about their son as he had not come yet. At dawn, the Duncans asked everyone around town if they had seen Sylvester, but none of the people knew where Sylvester was. The police even sent dogs to sniff out Sylvester, but they could not pick up his scent, even though they sniffed Sylvester the rock on Strawberry Hill. Eventually, Sylvester’s parents give up looking for him and had to go home miserable. Sylvester the rock was still upset about the prospect that his parents may never find him and he sits on Strawberry Hill as a rock for many months.
During May, Sylvester’s parents come to Strawberry Hill for a picnic. Sylvester the rock spots his parents as they sat on him and he tried to yell out that he was there, but he could not talk. It was then that his parents found the magic pebble and they start wondering if their son is still alive and they wished more than anything that their son would return to their arms. Suddenly, Sylvester transforms back into himself and stands before his parents and he and his parents start rejoicing on the return of their beloved son. When they got home, Mr. Duncan places the magic pebble in a safe, for they might need it again, but for now, the Duncans are just happy that their son is back home again.
William Steig has done an excellent job at beautifully detailing a young donkey’s attempts to change back to normal after a wish goes awry. Both children and adults will feel for Sylvester’s great sadness at not being able to tell his parents that he is still alive and his parents’ misery as they thought that their darling son was dead. William Steig’s illustrations are beautiful and detailed as he vividly draws the sad and happy emotions on Sylvester’s parents’ faces when they worried about their son, Sylvester. Also, the illustrations of the flowers and the trees and even the snow during the winter scene are memorizing as they provide a calm background the images.
Parents should know that the scenes of Sylvester being stuck as a rock might worry young children as they might worry that Sylvester may not change back into a donkey and the fact that his parents almost thought that he was dead may deeply upset them. Parents should explain to their children that because of Sylvester’s parents’ love for their son, Sylvester was able to change back into a donkey, but that does not seriously mean that a pebble will actually change you into a stone or something else. This story about a young donkey changing into a pebble is trying to tell children that no matter what happens to them, their parents will always love them, just as Sylvester’s parents did.
“Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” is William Steig’s milestone children’s book as it discusses the love that Mr. and Mrs. Duncan have for their child, Sylvester, when he turns up missing and how the spell of the magic pebble is broken when Mr. and Mrs. Duncan wished for their child’s return. This book will be a cult favorite for both children and adults and is suitable for children ages five and up, even though it discusses the loss of a child.
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