Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Title: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Author: William Steig
CALDECOTT E STEIG
In a moment of fright, Sylvester the donkey asks his magic pebble to turn him into a rock but then can not hold the pebble to wish himself back to normal again.
Imagine all the happiness and wealth you could achieve if you found a magic pebble that granted your every wish! Sylvester Duncan, an unassuming donkey who collects pebbles “of unusual shape and color,” experiences just such a lucky find. But before he can make all his wishes come true, the young donkey unexpectedly encounters a mean-looking lion. Startled, Sylvester wishes he were a rock, but in mineral form he can no longer hold the pebble, and thus cannot wish himself back to his equine trappings. His parents, thinking he has disappeared, are at first frantic, then miserable, and then plunge into donkey ennui. Meanwhile, Sylvester is gravely depressed, but tries to get used to being a rock.
In 1970, William Steig won the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble—the first of his many Newbery and Caldecott honors. In this donkey’s tale, Steig imbues his characteristically simple illustrations of animals sporting human garb with evocative, irresistible, and heartbreakingly vivid emotions. The text is straightforward and the dialogue remarkably touching. Children will feel deeply for Sylvester and his parents, all wishing for the impossible—that the family will one day be reunited. Sylvester’s sweet story is one that endures, reminding us all that sometimes what we have is all we really need. (Ages 4 to 8)