Jul 17, 2012

The Stone Hatchlings

The Stone Hatchlings (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by: Sarah Tsiang

Illustrated by: Qin Leng

Published by: Annick Press

Published on: June 21, 2012

Ages: 4+

Provided by the publisher for review through NetGalley

In 2010, Tsiang and Leng's debut title, A Flock of Shoes, was published to great critical acclaim. This was the delightful story of a little girl named Abby and what happened to her shoes during off-season. In 2011 they teamed up for another fantastic story, Dogs Don't Eat Jam and Other Things Big Kids Know (doesn't that sound like a title your kids would eat right up?). The Stone Hatchlings is their 2012 offering, and it is so nice to be back with Abby. With this third offering of amazing quality, they have cemented their reputation as one of Canada's kidlit superduos, up with Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko and Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault.

Abby finds a couple of eggs in her yard. She takes them in and experiments with several different nests until she hits on the right one (a pile of warm clothes). When they hatch, she coddles and raises them, enjoying their songs, until they need more than she can give. That's when Abby decides to give them the gift of unselfishness - the same gift her parents had given her when supporting her belief that these stones were real.

This story isn't just adorable, it is jam-packed with information about a bird's life-cycle which was news to my preschoolers. As much as they love nonfiction books, it is so cool to see the way information enters their brains by osmosis when they think they are just being read a story. It gives m the sense of accomplishment normally reserved for when I am able to hide mushrooms so well in my son's food that he doesn't notice he has consumed what he thinks he hates. How sneaky we adults are!

Tsiang and Leng are masters of the preschool mindset. I could see my kids doing everything their characters do. It's amazing how they can take a child through a certain understandable subset of time, such as a clothing season or the lifecycle of a feathered friend, without overwhelming the kids with dates and measurements.

This book combines the whimsy of Kiki's Delivery Service with the imagination of Millie's Marvellous Hat and the information of a National Geographic book. Yet another winner from this duo. I cannot wait to see what 2013 brings from Sarah Tsiang and Qin Leng.

This is the third book I reviewed for the Sixth Canadian Book Challenge.

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