3 out of 4 stars
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We can never know just how much of an impact we have on the world around us. Every choice we make causes a ripple that expands out to impact the lives of others. The Shiny Little Pebble is a metaphorical story meant to teach young readers that each of us is important because each person impacts the world, even in ways that may not be obvious or noticeable. This book, written by Pauline P. Pipa, follows the ripple effect that is caused by the actual ripple created when a pebble lands in a pond. One small ripple becomes relevant to a frog, a rabbit, a goldfish, and a boy all beautifully illustrated by Julie Leiman Weaver.
The fact that the pebble’s splash into the pond results in an unanticipated sequence of events can be used as a catalyst for many profound discussions between parents and children. The author intended that young readers would understand that each person is important. Each person in this world can have a lasting impact on it, even beyond the scope of his knowledge; we may never know the results of the choices that we make. The story can also be used to teach children that actions have consequences. Furthermore, The Shiny Little Pebble can impart to children the idea that everything in the world is somehow connected. Although the world is a vast place, one thing leads to another in an endless stream of connections that link everyone and everything eventually.
The varied lessons that children can learn from the story of the pebble, and the domino effect it has on the world around it, are lessons I would deem appropriate for children ten years of age and older. However, the sentence structure, simplicity of the story, and difficulty level of the vocabulary are more suitable for children between the ages of four and eight. I also believe the metaphor would be lost on children who don’t analyze a book beyond its surface. For children who still read their storybooks as being completely literal, the metaphor will go unnoticed. The story without the lesson is quite uneventful and likely unable to capture a child’s interest.
Although on the surface the story is not incredibly appealing, the illustrations are rather eye-catching. They appear to be paintings of nature, and they are beautifully done. What I particularly like, that I would define as being very unique, is that the pebble, the frog, and the goldfish are all colored to be almost jewel-like against a very standard depiction of nature featuring lots of tones of brown and green. I enjoyed the effect the jewel-tones had on the illustrations.
Pipa uses The Shiny Little Pebble to impart much wisdom to children, but this wisdom will only be beneficial to children whose parents will take the time to explain all of the valuable lessons that can be learned from the results of the pebble’s small splash into the pond. Without parental guidance, I believe these lessons are too deep for most young kids to notice on their own. As a result of the combination of the simplicity of the story and the depth of the lessons to be learned from it, I recommend this book to parents of four to eight-year-old children who like to read educational stories to their kids. I believe the illustrations and myriad of valuable lessons make The Shiny Little Pebble worthy of 3 out of 4 stars. I am refraining from granting Pipa 4 stars due to the difficulty of pinpointing an appropriate age group that should read this book and two comma-related errors that are present in the roughly twenty sentences that comprise the story.
The Shiny Little Pebble
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