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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Everybody Needs a Rock

One obvious thing visitors to our home notice are the many rocks. On shelves, in wooden bowls, atop the mantle, they represent places we have been and experiences that have drawn us together. Most notable are the Lake Superior Agates. Each of my family members have special rocks, ones we have found ourselves or purchased at unique rock shops. Everybody needs a rock.

Everybody Needs a Rock. Author Byrd Baylor published a book by that title in 1974, and the first and second graders have been listening to it this week during library time. The narrator speaks to the reader in a second person voice, sharing the ten rules she believes are important for finding a special rock. Her words and Peter Parnall's illustrations capture the listeners' attention so completely that they are rapt. I have found myself lost on the page at times because my own attention is focused on watching the children. When I finish, after the narrator says she is going to play a game that involves just herself and a rock, the children start raising their tell about their own rocks, of course. 

Here are the ten rules in brief:
1. Find a good place (mountain is best)
2. Seek quiet and don't worry
3. Get close to the earth
4. Choose one not too big
5. Choose one not too small
6. Make sure it has the perfect feel
7. Make sure it has the perfect color
8. Look for a special shape
9. Sniff it (apparently kids are better at this one than adults)
10. Find it yourself

My favorite rocks are tiny, pea-sized Lake Superior Agate pieces that have been worn down by waves into almost perfect shapes. I get close to the earth when I sit on the shore to find them. 


  1. I have ALMOST ALL of Byrd Baylor"s books, even the early ones, and they weren't always easy to find in the Midwest. I even found Amigo (1963), Coyote Cry (1972) and When Clay Sings (1972) and I adore her later illstrator, Peter Parnall. I have slowly culled my childen's and grandkids books as they have grown older, but don't think I will EVER give any of her's away. Unfortunately and unwisely loaned her "Yes is Better Than No" to a friend who unwisely lost it. It's a YA book which is a hoot about some Native Americans in Arizona. Amazon now lists it over $100.00 and the used books don't seem to be in really good condition.

    I think that Baylor once was a hippie. . .with plenty of imagination, and is now in her late 80's. A friend of mine once met her and I was so jealous. Her books really speak to me, and I am charmed by all of them. Don't have a favorite, just pulled them off their "special shelf" and I intend to start rereading them tonight. Especially like "I'm in Charge of Celebrations" but I can name at least two or three more that I absolutely love.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane and an opportunity to enjoy them again.

  2. Loved this post, and have already requested this book at the library. I realized i've read others of Baylor's books. My favorite rocks are from Lake Superior as well, the dark basalt ones that are almost round and fit in the palm of your hand.