A Rock is Lively / by Dianna Hutts Aston; illustrated by Sylvia Long.
Grades K-3 (all ages), rating: 5. Hardcover picture book.
A Rock is Lively presents many features of rocks: their composition, history, function, and variety, as well as their use in both ancient and modern times throughout the world as weapons and tools and by artists and builders. With its catchy title, vivid graphics, and inclusion of both simple and more complex information, A Rock is Lively has appeal for readers of all ages. The layout and clever headings (“A rock is mixed up”, “a rock is inventive”) add excitement and interest to the exploration of rocks both on Earth and in space. Watercolor illustrations by Sylvia Long range from the intricate detail of a single rock’s core to sweeping panoramas and a bold two-page volcanic eruption. Sculptures and monuments such as Stonehenge, the Pyramids, Michelangelo’s David, and Mt. Rushmore are wonderfully drawn and help expand the book’s scope, as does a section on how animals use rocks. There is discussion of ancient peoples (12,000-17,000 years ago) and the oldest rocks on Earth (4.5 billion years old). The opening pages depict 51 spectacularly unique rocks, repeated at the end of the book with labels that allow interested readers to practice identifying these beautiful rocks by name.
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