Category: Juvenile Fiction
Something is gravely wrong with the crew of the Rita Anne. They have stopped speaking and they seem to walk the decks stooped over. At night, shrieks can be heard coming from the forward hold.Why this dreadful and dangerous change? Could it have anything to do with the huge, glowing rock that was found the week before? Perhaps it should not have been brought aboard the ship. What is this extraordinary rock, what wretched power does it hold? And how on earth will the captain be able to save himself and his feverish crew?From the mind of an exceptional artist and story teller comes a unique visual statement, a tale at once provocative, exotic and mystical.
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Used availability for Chris Van Allsburg's The Wretched Stone
See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks USHardback Editions
October 1991. USA Hardback
Title: The Wretched Stone
Author(s): Chris Van Allsburg
ISBN: 0-395-53307-4 / 978-0-395-53307-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Availability: Amazon Amazon UK Amazon CA
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The SOS File
By Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers
Illustrated by Arthur Howard
Henry Holt & Company
When a book can grab students from page one and hold their interest throughout, it’s a keeper. When said book can accomplish these feats in a read-aloud setting, well, it’s a book that you need to have on hand. “The SOS File” is just such a book. A collection of short stories that will no doubt be a read-aloud standby for upper elementary students.
“SOS” works like this. The first page shows a file folder with the following instructions:
Have you ever needed to call 9-1-1, but you couldn’t get to a phone? Have you ever needed to run, but your legs were like spaghetti? Have you ever needed to yell “help!” but your throat was dry with fear?
For fun and extra credit write your story and put it in this file.
The first chapter begins with the teacher, Mr. Magro, addressing the class. He explains that the SOS file is full and it’s time for students to read their stories. Mr. Magro even sets up some intrigue by mentioning that one SOS will not receive extra credit.
For the next twelve chapters, students present their stories. All are written in the first person, drawing the reader into the action. Some stories are exciting (“The Pink Panther” is about a go cart test gone awry), many are funny (“Three Strikes, You’re Out”, “Pumpkin Man”), and some are touching (“Miracle on Main Street”). All are written in a basic enough style to make the reader buy into the idea that they were written by kids. When Mr. Magro finally gets to the last story (it’s his own, about being held back a grade) the reader realizes who will not be receiving extra credit.
Each chapter is brief, clocking in at just a few pages. This structure is good for a couple reasons:
1. Stories never drag. Young readers who are easily turned off by plodding storylines will want to keep on reading.
2. Short chapters give provide options in a read-aloud setting. You don’t have a lot of time? Just read one chapter – it’s still an entire story in and of itself. Got more time? Read a couple – kids will be asking for you to keep going.
It’s a pleasure to share a book that has been so useful to me as a school librarian. Be sure to add this one to your collection. If you read it to your students, beware – you may not see it on the shelves again for a while. My highest recommendation.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat .
The Full Belly Bowl
By Jim Aylesworth
Illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin
I eat the same thing for lunch every day. Granola bar, string cheese, banana, crackers, pretzels with peanut butter. I like those things and they’re easy to pack, so that’s what I stick with. I’m not saying this to highlight how boring I am (although… mission accomplished); I’m saying this to make the point that when you find something good, you tend to stick with it. “The Full Belly Bowl” has been one of my standbys for years. It’s read aloud gold. If it’s not in your collection, you’re missing out on a story that truly engages kids.
A folktale, well told, can really draw youngsters in. “The Full Belly Bowl” begins with our unnamed protagonist (known only as “the very old man”) rescuing a “wee small man” from the clutches of a fox. In return, the small man gives his savior a gift – the Full Belly Bowl. He also leaves directions:
Use it wisely or it will be a burden. To empty, pour it out. When not in use, store it upside down and out of reach of children.
Having nothing else to go on, the old man experiments with the bowl and discovers that it duplicates anything that is put into it. His hunger is soon a thing of the past. But when he discovers that the bowl can duplicate things besides food, the story starts getting interesting.
It made him wonder what would happen if he put a coin in the bowl, and though the only coin he had was a copper penny, he decided to give it a try.
But the very old man’s excitement about his discovery leads to a hasty mistake. Tension builds until the man’s dreams of a wealthy future are dashed, putting him right back where he started. To the very old man, however, this is not a bad thing.
The colored pencil illustrations are detailed and inventive. When an unfortunate accident with the Full Belly Bowl leaves the very old man’s house rodent infested, the page is literally covered with mice. The borders of each illustration also add to the story. When the man discovers he can eat all he wants with the help of the bowl, food is incorporated in the border. Overall, the effect is that of an illustrator who was really seeking to compliment the story.
Add this one to your read aloud menu and it may well become a staple.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat .
Unless there is some strange cult out there that seeks to unlock life’s mysteries through meditations on “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick” (and really, there might be), nowhere on earth does Grand Rapids native Chris Van Allsburg receive more love than in the Southwest region of the mitten state. How do I know? Well, it’s where I live and work as a school librarian. The wonderful Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) recently wrapped up an exhibit of Mr. V.A.’s drawings and I stopped by for a look. Amazing stuff. Original artwork was on display from just about every book he’s worked on, including my personal favorite “The Wretched Stone”. The visit inspired me to dust of the ol’ retro review.
The story begins as the ship Rita Anne is setting sail. Where she is going is never made clear. The work is narrated entirely through ship’s log entries by Captain Randall Ethan Hope, and an ominous tone is set right from the get go. Van Allsburg really needs to check into the legality of patenting a mood, because this sort of quiet unease has been his calling card for years – you just know some things are about to go down. And indeed they do. The crew soon discovers an uncharted island and decide to explore. They find a lush landscape, but encounter no signs of life. The crew does find an extrordinary glowing rock and decide to bring it on board. This is were things start to get weird. As the crew stares at the stone, they begin to take on some, shall we say, simian characteristics. The odd appeal of the stone proves to be very strong, putting their voyage in danger.
Call me an oblivious youth, but when I was a kid the correlation between the glowing rock and television didn’t occur to me. I dug the mystery, I dug the pictures, I dug the fact that humans were turning into apes. Only after I read the book later on did I understand that “The Wretched Stone” was indeed Van Allsburg’s ode to the pitfalls of too much television. This realization made me appreciate the book anew. A classic to meditate on.
As the title suggests, this book is a collection of seven short stories written by one of the all time greats: Roald Dahl. Let us start with the big one, the monster, the “man this one is so good, let’s just name the whole book after it” – “The Wonderful Story” in the flesh.
Stretching the limits of short by clocking (flipping?) in at 68 pages, “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar” could nearly be published all by itself. I can see the title now: Henry Sugar, the EP. The tale is worth every page. The story centers on a rich, bored man (the aforementioned Henry) who comes upon an unassuming notebook. The thin volume holds the key to something, as Dahl would put it, fantastically extraordinary: the ability to see through solid objects.
Now I don’t know about you, but this premise alone had me hooked as a youngster. The remaining pages melted away as I wondered if Mr. Sugar would have the patience and determination to learn this astounding skill, and what he would do with the power if he got it.
While “The Wonderful Story…” towers over the others in both size and ability to thrill, the accompanying six short stories pack a significant punch. From a true story of a man unearthing a fortune to an unforgettable tale of a hitchhiker with sticky fingers, young readers (especially boys) will be delighted. A landmark in my childhood of reading.
For the first selection to receive a retro review, you best believe it had to be a winner. Homer Price does not disappoint. Puffin recently released this book with updated cover art under the moniker “Modern Classic”, and indeed it is. The book is separated into six chapters, with each acting as it’s own short story. There are a few things you should know about Homer:
McCloskey keeps the action moving along – from catching criminals to stopping an out of control doughnut making machine, each story contains a large dollop of interest-piquing situations and characters. How could you not love a story about two men taking part in a contest to see who has the largest collection of string, with the winner getting the opportunity to propose to the woman they’re both in love with? Or how about a story with a mysterious Rip Van Winkle type character who has devised a ingenious way to rid Centerburg of mice – without harming a single one?
Reading Homer Price reminded me of listening to an album where the first few songs are so good that you’re nervous about the rest of the tracks living up the high standard. In this book, there really isn’t a letdown. As you might expect with a book that was written in the days of yore (c. 1943) there is some dated content, but that is minor and unlikely to make much of an impression to young readers who will be too engrossed in the story to notice much. A classic for modern times.
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Title Book: The Wretched Stone Author : Chris Van Allsburg ISBN 10: 9780395533079 ISBN 13: 0395533074 Publisher : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Category :Languages :Pages : 31 File Type : PDF EPUB DOCX TEXT File Size : 46,9 Mb Total Download : 893
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Uploaded: Sunday, 30-10-2016 New
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Rating:4.8/5 from 25430 votes.
We learn from the log of the Rita Anne that her voyage is going remarkably well. A clever and happy crew makes the days pass quickly. Then, on an uncharted island, the sailors discover an odd, glowing rock. Bringing it aboard, the captain notices the frightening and disastrous effect it has on his crew. But luck and courage restores the crew and finds a proper home for "the wretched stone". Full color throughout.
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Download our Android App from Google Play Store and start reading Reference Notes Offline.Flax-Golden Tales
Literal comprehension: After completing all its preparation a big cargo ship Rita Anne started her Voyage with fine environment. Every present crew were enjoying by reading books storytelling, etc. After four weeks they reached to an island which was very strange because there were no fruits in the plants, there was no sign of human life. There was bad smelling air and bitter water falling from fountains. They found a strange stone with shining one side that was giving light from there. They kept the stone in the ship and started their further journey. When crews were free they used to watch it. All sailors forgot their jobs and duties and rarely spoke each other. They always sat in front of the stone. They started to walk like animal, didn’t understand the language spoken by the captain. The captain made a secret plan to throw the stone in to the see. Soon a storm occurred where captain alone was controlling the ship. Other crews were busy in watching TV (Stone). Later the captain change them by playing music, reading books and telling stories. The ones who could read changed faster then who couldn’t later all were rescued by another ship.
Interpretation: This metaphorical story might be telling many things. Here the stone, ape stands for modern non-creative people. According to the writer being crazy to TV. People are careless to their responsibilities and duties. Watching TV is non-productive and uncreative work. There can be other ways to get entertainment like reading, singing story telling etc. We must be dutiful and punctual to get success in our life. Again the story might also try to tell us that we give less focus to our other important works while watching TV. TV itself is the cause of change in our good manners and attitudes. The title “The Wretched Stone” indicates the stone that gives lot of tensions and problems. This means people get more problems than benefits in watching TV. As we are away from the TV, we can be more creative, mannered and real human beings.
Critical Thinking: After reading this story I became so much disagree with the ideas given as the negative aspects of TV in total. Modern science and technological inventions have made our life facilitated and comfortable. Among them TV is one most useful tool. As it is given in this story TV is the not really so useless. We can know about the world, new inventions, knowledge skills and so much ideas using TV. We can world in front of TV set. How can any person become ape watching TV? Can we really become careless and duty-free watching TV? Can we reject the number of information and knowledge we get from TV? No doubt TV itself is not bad if we use it selectively and appropriately. There are many more advantages along with few disadvantages of using TV.
Assimilation: The story influenced me a lot. When we see the misusages of TV in our daily life, we can see similar situation. School children become crazy to non-creative programs. They should be interested about study. Most of housewives normally watch TV and kill their important time without any creative work. No doubt, if we can’t use TV properly, we can be meaningless and non-creative like the apes. The metaphorical presentation of TV as a stone made me to be careful in watching TV to find whether it has destroyed me or given creativity.Read This Also:
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But we will not talk merely about stories or images now.
In fact, there is a special category of books that I want to recommend.
Books that are exceptional - not because they are the brainchild of a phenomenal author and illustrator of children's books.
The author of this book undoubtedly shares great images and great stories - but he has even better ideas .
Yet, as quirky as his books are, they are also so very realistic.
They will make you shiver a bit inside.
No, its not fright. Its your imagination giving you the shivers.
This children's book author always add an unexpected twist to an already strange and puzzling situation.
Yes, you guessed it my friends.
I am talking about Chris Van Allsburg.
One of America's most innovative children's book authors and illustrators.
This picture book - The Wretched Stone may not be his most famous, but it is very special for the message that it conveys and because it is a perfect example of the Van Allsburg allure.
The Wretched Stone contains a lesson that we often try to teach our kids, but we repeatedly fail in our warnings.
Chris Van Allsburg manages to do it - by not even mentioning the topic.
It is a testament to Chris Van Allsburg's massive talent.
But what is this lesson, you ask?
Van Allsburg's books have a sort of an ethereal quality to them.
They are clearly products of the time when they were created - but unlike most shot-lived picture books, they remain timeless for every generation of children that take them into their hands.
The fable is always original and concise, while the pictures are mysterious and have a clean, almost computer animated feel to them.
However, the stories and the pictures do not explain what is so unique in Van Allsburg's creations.
His books are edgy.
They are extraordinary.
They are visions of alternate realities.
Van Allsburg's picture books are an exercise of lateral thinking in a mundane day-to-day world.
Since I laid my hands on the first Van Allsburg book, I simply could not stop.
How can you expect a child to think out of the box, if you never let him look out over the edge?
Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.Edward de Bono
Children do look out of the box all the time. They are born as lateral thinkers.
They do not approach any problem with the same inbuilt training that society instilled into us.
It is we adults, who desperately try to be creative in our lives and our professions.
But children ARE creative, by definition .
We can only envy them and the effortless way in which their minds overcome barriers in thinking - because their minds do not see barriers in the first place .
Several years ago I became worried that as my twins grow up they would lose this in-built creativity forever.
Life conspires against them.
The world we adults created works against our very children.
So. I knew I had to tilt the creativity balances back into their favor.
And what better way than by stimulating their brains with unique books such as Van Allsburg's creations - to help children to see the amazing in the mundane.
Our role as parents must be to challenge children with books that don't offer answers, but questions.
Van Allsburg is - to quote Winston Churchill - "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key."Reading between the lines
I do a great deal of work with young children, and if you give a child a problem, he may come up with a highly original solution, because he doesn't have the established route to it.Edward de Bono
I still have not mentioned the message in this book.
But I will come to it.
The Wretched Stone is written in the original form of a ship captain's log,
Captain Randall Ethan Hope of the Rita Anne takes us aboard his ship that is embarking on a new voyage after bringing together a "fine crew" of accomplished sailors and officers.
In fact the crew has numerous readers and musicians, as well as storytellers and entertaining singers and dancers.
One day, though the clear air, a little island is spotted in the distance just before the evening. An island that is missing from the nautical maps.
The captain and the crew disembark the next day seeking fresh fruit and aiming to replenish the ship's water supplies, but are shocked the find out that there is absolutely no sign of animal life, not even insects.
As for the plants, none of them bear fruit and even the water they find flowing is too bitter to drink.
Yet, that is just one part of the find.
Captain Hope and his men find a rock - and let me be precise here - approximately two feet across, with a rough texture and grey in color, but a part of it is flat and smooth - like glass.
"From this surface comes a glowing light that is quite beautiful and pleasing to look at," Hope explains before instructing his crew to continue their voyage.
But immediately after the extraordinary find is brought on board, things start to change. The crew starts spending more and more time looking at the stone and abandoning their duties.
A strange atmosphere descends over the ship as the crew members stop speaking among themselves and shrieks can be heard at night.
The captain is surprised to find that the entire crew turned into hairy apes while gazing at that terrible rock below deck, which practically spells disaster for the Rita Anne that is battered to pieces by a terrible storm.
The glowing rock goes dark after the storm and the captain manages to revive his mentally dead crew by reading aloud to them and playing the violin.
After the men recover completely, the captain decides to get rid of the glowing rock once and for all.
Although Van Allsburg's picture book The Wretched Stone never specifically mentions the TV, clearly, the glowing rock is a symbol of the power that television has over people's lives and how it can make us descend to an almost ape-like stupor.
I love it that the book does not explicitly allude to it. We never even see the glowing rock.
But this makes the rock's power even more frightening.
My twins guessed what the rock was supposed to stand for (with a little help) several years ago, when we read it for the first time.
Three years later, we read it last night again, I was surprised to see that they knew exactly what was the wretched stone.
It sometimes takes subtlety to make a point forever.
The Wretched Stone is available from bookstores in the US:
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