A Rock Is Lively

As I was reading this nonfiction book with my youngest, my middle-schooler came in and told us that a rock is not lively. A rock is not alive. Still, despite her objections to the title, I could see her leaning over trying to catch a glimpse of the bright and active illustrations of lazurite, snowflake obsidian and amethyst geode

Rocks are helpful, surprising, old and galactic. But lively? My dictionary’s first definition is “full of life and energy”. This is not the epitome of a rock. Or is it? Dianna Hutts Aston makes the case, along with illustrator Sylvia Long, on the final spread with exploding magma forming into obsidian. The illustration certainly has energy–the second definition of lively:  “animated, exciting, or intellectually stimulating”.

A Rock Is Lively reasons with us, gives us beauty and fascination. Read it and tell me what you think.

(Definitions from Encarta World English Dictionary. New York:  St. Martin’s Press, 1999.)


About AnEducationInBooks

Wendy BooydeGraaff is the author of Salad Pie, a children's picture book published by Ripple Grove Press. Her work has been published in Emrys Journal Online, The Emerson Review, Jellyfish Review, Bending Genres, SmokeLong Quarterly and Leopardskin & Limes, and is forthcoming in NOON. Read more work at wendybooydegraaff.com or find her on Twitter @BooyTweets.
This entry was posted in Nonfiction, Picture books and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Rock Is Lively

  1. I think a rock can be lively. Case in point, one of my workshop presentations is called “Rock Your Writing.” Students create a story about a rock they choose from a sack in the beginning of the hour. They name the rock, describe what it wants most in the world, why it can’t have it, and what it does then. Their rocks come alive in that workshop!

    • Good point, Carrie. In fiction, we can create life out of nothing.Your workshop kids make lively stories, I’m sure! But in the case of a nonfiction book, is it correct to say an inorganic object is lively? A rock does not take in food, grow and reproduce. Or is Dianna meshing science and poetry?

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