Becker, Aaron. A Stone for Sascha. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2018.
On the book jack flap author Aaron Becker, in his note from the author, states, “my intention is…to encourage readers to discover their own path through the book, projecting their experiences onto the illustrations and discovering, within the openness of these wordless pages, their own epic story.”
A Stone for Sascha includes something not often seen in picture books for young children or wordless books for that matter – flashbacks. I think when it comes down to it, this books may actually be one for older children. The book starts with the death and burial of the family dog. The family leaves on vacation. The scene is then a family campsite by a large body of water. The girl, in her grief is heaving stones into the water. Flashback to the age of the dinosaurs and a comet and a large gold colored pillar sticking up out of the ground. This pillar becomes a shrine of sorts, then a piece of a very large statue. The statue falls to a state of decay and the gold pillar, which is now the size of a rock becomes the key stone in a bridge over a river. The bridge falls to decay the stone becomes a chest which is stolen by pirates and lands in the water. Erosion smooths the edges and it becomes a gold-colored stone the young girls pulls from the water. She takes it home and it becomes a grave marker for her dog.
I am not sure that young children will be able to understand the transition to the flashbacks. Since they are very linear, the jump backwards may be hard for them to understand. Aaron Becker created these illustrations digitally. They are rather fuzzy. I did not find this book as enjoyable as his three previous books: Journey, Quest, and Return.
Because it was published this year, I will be including it in my Mock Caldecott unit later this fall. Watch for my post when I reveal which books the students choose for their projects.
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