Charlotte and the rock by Stephen W. Martin

cover image

Ill. by Samantha Catterill. Random House, 2017. ISBN 9780143785309
Like many young children, Charlotte wanted a pet. She didn't care what sort of pet, even a pig would do, so she was very surprised to see what her parents bought her for her 6th birthday, it wasn't a dog, or a cat, or a hamster or even a pig - it was a rock! A large rock.
Even though it wasn't quite what she expected, nevertheless she tried to remain positive and look for its good points. It was a good listener, quiet, easy to train, and hypoallergenic. But it was tricky to take it for walks, and wouldn't eat her broccoli and the teacher didn't believe her homework excuse. But being resourceful she soon learned to make the best of her pet and learned to love it. She would just like it if it could love her back. And then one night ...
Even though the rock appears to be an inanimate object, both Martin's text and Catterill's illustrations give it a life through Charlotte's interactions with it. There is subtle humour in this story that will appeal to young readers, especially as Charlotte attempts to take her rock for a walk and for a swim, and there is more to discover with each reading. This is a story about dealing with the unexpected, looking on the bright side and being careful what you wish for. It is positive and uplifting and will bring a lot of joy to young readers.
Barbara Braxton