From Publishers Weekly
"In a small community on the Earth," every person and animal possesses a shiny green stone. If a stone's owner shows warmth, love and respect to others, his stone glows, but negative actions and feelings cause the stone to become dull and gray until restitution can be made. When Johnny loses his green stone, he must discover the strength and wisdom within himself that will bring the magic glow back to his life. Walker presents a rather forced message in this strange story. The tone is ethereal and removed--odd qualities in such a personal plot--while the writing style, especially the dialogue, is stiff and didactic. Young readers will have difficulty understanding the confusing concept that a person's inner goodness should be reflected in an iridescent rock. Deeter's warm acrylic paintings are full of life, depicting the multiethnic inhabitants of this unusual town, which itself seems enveloped by an eerie green light. The book's intent is noble but in the end simply too hard to swallow. All ages.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4-- Like everyone in their largely African-American community, Johnny and Katie each have a green stone that glows when they are particularly loving or caring. Johnny loses his and immediately begins acting badly. (It's unclear whether he lost it because he acted badly; at any rate, ``because of his hurtful behavior, he deserved to lose it.'') His actions make everyone, himself included, sad (no one gets angry in this book). Johnny's father trucks wood (but feels bad about tree-cutting); his mother is a fast-moving community doctor, rushing around with her stone in her mouth (no danger of choking?). When she reacts impatiently to Johnny's loss, her stone turns a sickly color; her amended response is to put her arm around her son and tell him it's his own fault. Only Johnny himself can find it again, but the whole community drops everything to be with him while he looks. When he puzzles over their support, he feels ``as if all the warmth inside himself was trying to rush out''--but instead of a fatal chill, he gets his stone back. Allegorical consistency is not the book's strong suit: although the stone seems to be an external conscience, trees and dogs have them too; and the possession of a stone doesn't keep some characters from acting badly. Preachy psychology and muddled fantasy make for a heavy-handed blend. Deeter's warm, bright acrylics are cheery and attractive, but can't save this tract from sinking under its own well-intentioned weight. --Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.