A Stone Sat Still
As with They All Saw a Cat, Brendan Wenzel explores perspective, this time playfully using a stone as the focal point.
‘A stone sat still/ with the water, grass, and dirt,/ and it was as it was/ where it was in the world.’
A series of spreads, shows the stone as it is experienced by all manner of wild creatures: a snail crawls over it, a chipmunk stops on it to nibble a nut; for an owl it’s a bright place upon which to perch, while a gull cracking a clam shell finds it ‘loud’,
in contrast to the snake for which it was a quiet spot upon which to bask in the sun.
The stone’s texture to a slug is ‘rough’ whereas to a racoon’s paws it’s smooth.
The meditation on the inanimate object continues through the seasons when it takes on a variety of hues – green, red, purple and blue as witnessed by four different animals.
Its size can seem as a mere pebble to a large moose but to a bug, it’s an enormous hill; while in the dark, its sensory qualities are picked up as a feel to investigative racoons, whereas it’s a smell to a sniffing coyote on the hunt.
Readers too experience the stone’s sensory qualities, thanks to Wenzel’s text and his superb mixed-media illustrations, large and small.
As they move through the book, readers will, so long as they are observant, see that around the stone, the water is on the rise
as little by little it is engulfed, becoming a tiny island and then a wave, a memory, ‘and the stone was always.’ Submerged beneath the waves ‘with water, grass, and dirt a stone sits still in the world.’
Assuredly this is a book that invites us to celebrate the changing and the unchanging, and encourages us to look closely and ever closer, not only at the illustrations, but also at the natural world around.
It’s one to have on hand if you are thinking about wildlife, about perception and perspective, even perhaps about existence itself; it’s deep and gently powerful, and has much to offer across a wide age range.