Everybody Needs A Rock, by Byrd Baylor
Illustrated by Peter Parnall
Ages 6 - 10
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks
Size: approximately 20 x 24.5 cm
Themes: Rocks, Geology, Decision Making, Choosing with Intent, Acting with deliberation
From the Back Cover:
Everybody needs a rock - at least that's the way this particular rock hound feels about it in presenting her own highly individualistic rules for finding just the right rock for you.
(Please see the many reviews below for a greater understanding of what this wonderful picture book is all about.)
About the Author:
Naturalist Byrd Baylor was born on March 28th, 1924. She has always lived in the Southwest, mainly in Southern Arizona near the Mexican border. She is at home with the southwestern desert cliffs and mesas, the rocks and open skies. She is comforted by desert storms. The Tohono Oodham people, previously known as the Papagos, are her neighbours and close friends. She has focused many of her writings on the regions landscape, peoples, and values, presenting images of the Southwest and an intense connection between the land and the people. Through her books of rhythmic prose poetry, written primarily for children, she celebrates the beauty of nature, the value of simplicity, the natural world, and the balance of life within it.
Her books have been honored with many prestigious childrens book awards, including the Caldecott Award and the Texas Bluebonnet Award. All of her books are full of the places and the peoples that she knows. She thinks of these books as her own kind of private love songs to the place she calls home.
"Fantastic book! While encouraging a deeper observation of nature, it also encourages readers to trust their own intuition and decision making process. For example, Rule 10 states: "Don't ask anybody to help you choose. I've seen a lizard pick one rock out of a desert full of rocks and go sit there alone. I've seen a snail pass up twenty rocks and spend all day getting to the one it wanted. You have to make up your own mind. You'll know." We love all of Byrd Baylor's books - what an inspirational author for children on the topics of simplicity and respect for the wonders of nature!" - A J Muller
A Kid's Review: "This book has a very special meaning. When I look as this book it tells me that making a decision of any kind big of small takes time. It takes thought and concentration. As you are to pick a rock you have to look at it from all sides, just like you would have to in any decision you would make.
Decisions even as small as picking out a rock are important. Maybe you could apply these 10 rules that are read in the book and use them to solve everyday dilemmas or situations.
I think this book also tells us that the materialistic thing in life are not always what you need. Sometimes it takes just a rock to be your best friend. I would highly recommend this book to children who just think that toys or material possessions are what they need. There is a beautiful would of nature out there, and if you use your imagination even a rock can be your friend." - Kellie (from Amazon)
"I teach 6th grade and one of the things we learn about is rocks. I bought this book based on the reviews, but after reading it I felt compelled to write one, too. I try to get my students excited about rock collecting. This book is so simple, yet so inspiring. It begins by saying "I'm sorry for kids who only have tricycles, bicycles, horses, elephants, goldfish, three-room playhouses, fire engines, wind-up dragons and things like that - if they don't have a rock for a friend." It then goes on to list 10 simple rules for finding your rock...not just any rock. A rock that you will keep forever. The rules include where to find your rock and remember "You should choose your rock when everything is quiet. Don't let dogs bark at you or bees buzz at you." The book concedes, "Don't get a rock that is too big. You'll always be sorry. It won't fit in your hand right and it won't fit in your pocket. A rock as big as an apple is too big. A rock as big as a horse is MUCH too big." This is the perfect book to get your rock collectors started and excited about geology." - C Asherson (from Amazon)
"Under the guise of giving ten rules for choosing one's "special rock", the author advises kids (and adults who read to them), to connect with nature and to act with deliberation. The line drawings are muted in color yet evocative and filled with imagination, and will be of interest to kids who have seen only traditional artwork." - Audrey the Librarian (from Amazon)
"This book has beautiful artwork (amazing line drawings) and neat words. But its ideas apply to more than just rocks. There's something in it about the rock search being a very personal thing, and I found that applied as much to househunting as rock hunting. Get it for anyone you love." - A Customer (from Amazon)
"With her spare, poetic prose, the author gives us ten rules for picking our own special rocks, leading us through smell, taste, feel and sight. Her locale is southwestern United States and Peter Parnall's illustrations match it well. His lines trail off into the vast spaces and his figures, especially the rocks, seem to grow out of that space. Baylor's ten rules, stated with a deadpan humor and delight in the beauty inherent in those rocks, lead the reader to look more carefully at them, using all their senses to make those observations.
There are obvious extensions here. Of course we need to assemble and carefully examine rocks, sorting them in as many ways as possible including but not solely using Baylor's ten rules. We can go on from there to a study of rocks or we can apply those rules, rewriting as necessary, to other natural objects such as shells, trees, insects, and flowers. Each of these can lead to a theme. The rules can be altered again as writing activities to become ten rules for choosing a friend, a teacher, a parent, or a home." - Carol Hurst (carolhurst.com)
"Everybody Needs A Rock, written by Byrd Baylor and illustrated by Peter Parnall, is among my top ten favorite children's books and, if pressed to make a choice, I might say that it is my all-time favorite. My first exposure to the book was back in the 70's in one of the gift shops at one of the Smithsonian Museum branches in Washington, DC. I didn't buy it at the time, but its simple story and wonderful illustrations made an impact on me and stuck in my head. Here was a book about someone like me; here was a book about someone with a deep appreciation for rocks. The young lady in the book also had deeply felt personal values. The drawings reminded me of some of my own sketches and they said so much with so few lines and such a simple, earthy color scheme. I forgot the title and then rediscovered the book in the 80s as I was finishing up my training as a geologist and then as a high school science teacher. Recently, my Mom gave me a blow-up of a picture taken of me in Badlands National Park in 1966. In the picture, I am 7 and I am sitting on the side of a rocky hill looking intently at a small rock. The picture reminds me of Rule Number 3 from the book: "Bend over. More. Even more. You may have to sit on the ground with your head almost touching the earth. You have to look a rock right in the eye."
If you know a child with a deeper than average appreciation of nature who is little bit misunderstood, give them a little validation by giving them a copy of this fantastic book. I'm still looking for the perfect rock, but, in my opinion, Everybody Needs A Rock is close to a perfect children's book." - Bruce Crocker (from Amazon)