Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Three Pebbles and a Song

Spinelli, E. 2003. THREE PEBBLES AND A SONG. Ill. by S.D. Schindler. New York: Dial Books. ISBN 0803725280 [Suggested Grade Levels K-2]


Precocious Moses the mouse is supposed to be out gathering food and materials for winter’s arrival. Poor Moses is caught dancing, singing, and collecting pebbles. His family members all tell him that gathering is best to prepare for the cold season. Yet, Moses cannot help enjoying the little things in his environment. When he returns home, the family members share what they have gathered for the winter. Papa mouse brings soft rags. Sister mouse brings raisins, and Mama has a collection of crumbs to eat. Moses laments the fact that he brought nothing useful back. Thanks to the other family members, the family is well-fed and warm. However, they all become bored as winter proceeds because they are confined to their winter dwelling. When Moses shares his pebbles, song, and dance, he provides much needed entertainment.

Spinelli’s book is a refreshing look at what is truly important in life. Too often, play gets a bad name. People forget that the little things in life are what truly matter in retrospect. Play becomes just as important as work in the text. Readers will enjoy the flowing story and the rich message. In addition, readers will pore over the gorgeous illustrations made with pastels and watercolors. Each mouse is drawn with careful detail. The mice have tender expressions that exude warmth and compassion. The art work has the kind of detail in which individual splinters can be identified on pieces of wood. In truth, this is the kind of book that will be appreciated in terms of its poignant message as well as its quality illustrations.

Children could discuss three items they would bring with them from the outside environment if they were confined to their homes for the winter.

Children could rewrite the ending to THREE PEBBLES AND A SONG. How would the story have ended if Moses had not shared what he gathered for winter?

Other books or tales that can prompt discussion about the value of play:
Lionni, Leo. FREDERICK. ISBN 0394826140
Ottolenghi, Carol. JACK AND THE BEANSTOCK. ISBN 1577683773
Stevens, Janet. THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE. ISBN 0823405648

Other books by Spinelli that could be compared to this one in terms of spirit and drive:

By Laura K. Davis

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