Title: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
Author: William Steig
Illustrator: William Steig
Publisher: Simon Y Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1969
Rating: 4/5 stars
Awards: Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner, 1970
With beautiful illustrations, William Steig creates a picture of a curious son in a loving family who deals with a serious tragedy. As an easy reader, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble challenges young children to stretch their vocabulary, providing detailed pictures to help with higher level reading. Although the beginning of the book is a bit wordy, Steig streamlines the text once the plot is established. With an appropriate level of emotion, Steig illustrates a message that everyone should be appreciate of the things and people in your life. I was disappointed, however that some of the illustrations spoil the suspense created by the text by giving away the next plot twist too soon. The climax was muted for my family because the reader can not finish the paragraph before finding out the essential turning point of the story. Even still, however, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble remains a favorite of many children, including my own who shouted with joy when I pulled the book out of my bag.
Professional Review Expert: “When I print the full list of all the nominations that didn’t quite make it onto the Top 100, you’re going to be shocked by sheer amount of Steig on that list. Everyone has their favorite. … But nine times out of ten the title that came up the most was Sylvester. That strange little story of magic, loss, and recovery strikes a deep chord in the hearts and minds of children and parents everywhere.” – School Library Journal
Steig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1969.
Bird, Elizabeth. “Top 100 Picture Books #55: Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by Wiliam Steig.” School Library Journal. (25 May 2012). http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2012/05/25/top-100-picture-books-55-sylvester-and-the-magic-pebble-by-william-steig/#_.