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A Gift from the Sea

by Kate Banks
Illustrated by Georg Hallensleben

Published by U.S. edition: Frances Foster / FSG, 2001
32 pages
ISBN: 0-374-32566-9

Ages 4 - 7

A quiet, beautifully restrained text embraces something as huge as the history of the earth in the context of something small, understandable, and wholly familiar to a child. When the boy picks up a rock he finds on the beach, "he didn't know that the rock had been spewed from a fiery volcano and cooled in the shade of a thousand years." Or that it had once been part of a cave, that later a city grew around it, and that when the city crumbled, "the rock became a landmark for travelers." As she covers thousands of years of history to tell how the rock changed and moved over time, Kate Banks repeatedly uses the phrase "He didn't know" in reference to the child who now counts the rock among his treasures. The refrain endows this masterful narrative with a sense of wonder and discovery. Banks's words are precise and graceful. Georg Hallensleben's paintings capture quiet mystery. CCBC categories: Picture Books for Older Children; Historical People, Places, and Events; The Natural World.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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