by James Stevenson. (Greenwillow, 1993 ISBN 0-688-11954-9) Picture Book. Grades 2+.
This review by Carol Otis Hurst first appeared in Teaching K-8 Magazine.
I like James Stevenson's work. I love the Grandpa series and his books about Emma. Even more I love his picture books about growing up. This season he's tried a new direction and given us the charming The Pattaconk Brook. This is a book that your inventive spellers can get their teeth into for Sidney, the frog, is trying to write down in his journal the sounds of the brook. Sherry, the snail, joins him and hears something different. When Sidney asks her how to spell her sound she says she's a listener, not a speller. (Me, too) Inspired by their writing the two friends decide to find out how the brook sounds as it meets the sea. (How they know it does is left for our conjecture.)
After a hair-raising journey on a floating branch they find the sea, and hear the Pattaconk's sounds but Sherry has also discovered the seashore and knows it's the place she belongs. So the two friends and fellow listeners part with assurances that they'll keep listening and see each other again. Friendship, writing, spelling and sounds, who can ask for more in a picture book?
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