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The Wretched Stone Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 580L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; 1st edition (October 28, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395533074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395533079
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A captain's log records the puzzling transformation of his ship's sailors after a glowing rock from an uncharted island is brought aboard. They turn into apes, insensate to the captain's orders and "fascinated by the rock." A storm nearly scuttles the ship but also breaks the stone's hold over the men, who return to normal--except for an inordinate fondness for bananas. Once again, Van Allsburg voyages into an unknown territory that is mystical and eerie--though his somewhat overblown prose substitutes unsettling obfuscation for dramatic storytelling. His sharp-edged, ultra-realistic paintings are a marvel in their own right, from the otherworldly luminiscence of the ominous island to the deep indigos used to create the stillness of the ship and sea by night to oddly angled, even dizzying perspectives of the ship's hold and mast. All ages.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4-- Van Allsburg's latest offering may be seen as preachy or provocative, allegorical or obvious, but like much of his previous work, it is bound to attract attention and stimulate discussion. Written in the form of a ship's log, the book outlines the unusual events that take place aboard the Rita Anne after the discovery of a glowing stone on a mysterious, deserted island. In a few brief entries, Captain Randall Ethan Hope notes his initial pleasure in the cultured and convivial crew, details the finding of the luminous stone, and divulges its terrible transformative effect--his shipmates have been turned into primates. When a sudden storm blows up, the Captain expects the worst. However, the ship survives long enough for the men to be rehabilitated and subsequently rescued. The stone is sent to the bottom of the sea by Captain Hope and all on board swear themselves to secrecy. The dramatic illustrations increase the suspense and surprise inherent in the unlikely adventures described. Visual humor, although used sparingly, also adds to the appeal of the colorful paintings. While this picture book could be read merely as an exotic ocean adventure, literacy advocates and fans of book discussions will enjoy ruminating over the symbolism of the mysterious glowing stone and arguing over the interpretation of Van Allsburg's oblique message. --Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children's literature. In 1982, Jumanji won the National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
The message that Chris VanAllsburg conveys throughout this book is cleverly hidden in his choice of words.
Pam
The Wretched Stone is an important story with a message-- a great reminder lesson for children and adults alike, about the dangers of watching too much television.
Arline Curtiss
The story serves as a reminder that as we slip deeper into the electronic age, we may be loosing the very things that give us our humanity.
Donna D

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Arline Curtiss on February 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even my eight-year-old grandchild got the message of this wonderful allegory. The Wretched Stone is an important story with a message-- a great reminder lesson for children and adults alike, about the dangers of watching too much television. It's so easy to slide into the passive oblivion in front of the tube. We need to tear ourselves and our children away from the "glowing orb."

The sailors on the ship became captive to a glowing stone that said nothing. Anything like that around your house?
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T. L. Preble on November 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have trouble getting your kids to turn off the tv...here is a wonderful adventure book to show the kids how too much television viewing can turn you into an "ape"! Filled with metaphors for older children (8 and up) to figure out: Could the strange island where they found the wretched stone once have been inhabited with intelligent life? Perhaps all that is left (after pollution, technology) is unedible vegetation, undrinkable water, stinky odors--but the "stone" remains,("rough textured, gray with portion that is flat and smooth as glass,"), sound like a tv? How about the lightning that knocks out the "power" of the stone/tv? And I love the part where..."It seems that those who knew how to READ recovered more quickly."

Another recommended "anti-tv" book for kids: "Fred's TV" by, Clive Dobson.(may be out of print, but can still get in online!)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By beachris on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Chris Van Allsburg books, I want to own all of them! this book was especially good to teach my student how to infer, they had fun collecting the clues the authro gives and then inferring what the wretched stone was. It was a good reading lesson, they loved it and I do too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm Broderick on February 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is one of my favorite Chris Van Allsburg books. Chris Van Allsburg, author to gems like The Polar Express, The Stranger, Just a Dream, and The Wreck of the Zephyr, tells another captivating story with a message. This one serves as a great reminder and launching point for discussion, for children and adults alike, about the dangers of too much television.

It's estimated that the average child watches about 4 hours of TV per day. That calculates out to 28 hours per week or 120 hours per month. Imagine what any one of us could accomplish in that amount of time! The sad truth is that for so many of us parents, the TV becomes a cheap and easy babysitter for our kids.

The Wretched Stone is a great story with wonderful illustrations and a very important message.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Vivid artwork in an array of dramatic colors adds to the mystery and eerieness of this book. I take it that the "wretched stone" is a metaphor for television and its hypnotic effect. I am taking a course on children's literature and have been sampling picture books, and so far Van Allsburg wins the palm. The darkness of this tale may be disconcerting to some of the young set, but the last page with its bright red, white and yellow colors and its kicker wit dispels the gloom and sends us all to bed happier and the wiser.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Have you heard about the book The Wretched Stone? The author, Chris Van Allsburg, made a beautiful book. This book I will never forget. I am glad I read this book. I hope you will enjoy this book like I did.

I thought that the colors were pale in the pictures. But, the theme is good. The theme is to not watch too much TV. The art work is like real people. I can tell that the author's words are very stiff. The story takes place mostly at sea in the boat.

In The Wretched Stone it said, "Some play musical instruments and there are a few good strong storytellers among them." Also, a good quote they said is, "I am playing the violin and reading to the crew." I like the ending a lot. Also it is very funny that the crew turns into monkeys. The author's style is to make the kids see it in there minds.

The crew and the captain are going through bad times. These entire things have a solution. The captain is the person who solves them. I enjoyed this book.

I feel that the book is meant for higher grade levels. Mostly for forth and fifth graders. The pictures are not cartoons, they are real people. This book is very extraordinary. This book is a 4 star book. I hope this book review will make you read it too.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The Wretched stone

Nick f

The Wretched Stone is a wonderful children's book for any first time readers of any age. This book is filled with mystery and suspense. A group of sailors go sailing on a ship when they see an island they stop for fresh water and for food. When they are on the island they find a smooth polished rock and they thought it was cool, so they where going to bring it with them to where they were going. One night the captain goes down into the hold and when he reaches the hold he has a big surprise awaiting him. This is a good book for any adventurous reader and The Wretched Stone is perfect for any one of any age. The book has many great ideas and wonderful voice and has awesome sentence fluency these are 2 reasons why I chose this book as my favorite.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Wrethched Stone is a great book. I loved it! It is a little confusing. I would have liked more detail. The pictures were great! I think kids older then the age of 9 would understand it more then littler kids. Little kids would love the pictures, though.
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