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Book Buzz: The Rock From The Sky

The Rock From The Sky

Written & illustrated by John Klassen

Ages 6-8, Candlewick Press

John Klassen, the creator of the hilarious hat series: I Want My Hat Back, This is Not My Hat, and We Found a Hat, is back with another dry-witted story about three friends who like to stand in their favorite spot… and a rock. If that sounds like a dull story plot line, read on… just the title should give you a hint about what is about to happen. In other words, there is immediate tension the moment you open the book: a large boulder size rock is plummeting towards earth through the copyright pages. What is going on? 

Turn the page.

The story opens with a simple landscape of lots of gray sky and muted green earth… and one flower with the mini-chapter heading: 1. The Rock (there are several mini-chapter headings throughout as the story unfolds). A turtle approaches and confesses to his otter friend that he likes this spot (the two characters are both wearing hats, a subtle nod to the afore mentioned hat series). 

Turn the page.

Here we see the giant boulder rock continuing its fall to earth. The tension mounts.

Moving on, the otter confides that he has a bad feeling about “this spot” and likes “that spot over there, better.” So, he moves over to the new spot.

Turn the page.

Another two-page spread of the boulder size rock falling. Higher tension.

A snake comes along and talks to the otter. The snake is wearing a beret in keeping with the hat theme. Due to not being able to hear, the otter and snake, the turtle walk over to the “new spot” to see how it feels. Just then, the boulder size rock hits the spot where the turtle had been.

Lucky for the turtle, he is safe.

The three characters talk and compare notes about what the rock will be like in the future. New characters are introduced as they discuss the landscape… even an alien is involved. The story, with some light tension at times, continues to a very unexpected twist with the dry, slow-paced humor intact.

The marvelous quality of Klassen’s pacing is very much in play here. The simple, neutral-colored landscapes, dialogue and concepts are easy for a young reader to understand and enjoy the humor. This picture book is a long one, approximately fifty pages. There is lots of time and space for the tension to build as the rock falls from the sky. The reader is forced to wonder, “Where will it land next?”

While not particularly for young reader, the clever way Klassen paces the story, the silly stylized animals, and the connectivity with young and old, The Rock From The Sky is a fun story to read over and over… while wearing silly hats.

About The Author

Chuck Galey

Chuck Galey has drawn all his life. “I had everything I needed growing up in a small farm town in the Mississippi Delta; a pencil, a piece of paper and a long-winded Baptist preacher.” He has illustrated over seventy educational books and eleven children’s picture books, one that he authored. When he is not working on books in his studio in Jackson, Mississippi, he is presenting exciting school programs that inspire and astonish students. His programs, listed on the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Teaching Artist Roster, encourage them to be creative in their reading, writing and art. For additional information about Chuck , visit his website: www.chuckgaley.com

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