CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 31. . . April 21, 2017
Charlotte and the Rock, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill, is the newest work from award-winning author Stephen W. Martin. Martin has had great success in directing short films, and his talent has traversed into the world of children’s literature.
Charlotte and the Rock tells the all-too-familiar story of a typical childhood situation: the desperate want of a pet. Unlike most children who desire pets, however, Charlotte does not receive a cat or hamster or even a goldfish—rather, her parents buy her a rock! Parallels are drawn between animal pet owning and owning a rock. Charlotte notes that “walks were not fun” as the illustrations depict her attempting to drag her rock through town via a leash (p. 9). When Charlotte doesn’t do her homework and attempts to blame her pet, her teacher responds with, “’You said WHAT ate your homework?’” (p. 13). Though a little miffed at first, Charlotte comes to love her new pet. A neighbour asks her what her pet’s name is, and “’Dennis,’ said Charlotte proudly” is the reply that follows (p. 14). As time goes on and Charlotte comes to have more and more fun with her pet rock, something surprising happens—an event which is sure to charm readers both young and old!
Samantha Cotterill’s illustrations are the perfect mix of soft and colourful to give Charlotte and her rock a feel of being alive and active. The muted colours throughout the book are easy on the eyes, and the simply-lined pictures lack nothing when it comes to movement and expression. Cotterill’s black line drawings hold the whimsical feel of Quentin Blake, filled in with colourful patterns and designs that are reminiscent of Lane Smith. The illustrations add to the story in a delightful way.
Stephen W. Martin’s Charlotte and the Rock is a joy for all ages. Older readers will possibly relate to the situation of having a child beg for a pet while younger readers will finish this book and wonder what it would be like to have a pet “rock” of their own. This charming book is a must-read for anyone who has—or desires to have!—a pet.
Nikita Griffioen, who is currently completing her Bachelor of Education at British Columbia’s University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, will go on to teach high school and hopes to write and illustrate books of her own.
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