Three stories nest together but never mesh in this sentimental picture-book debut. An old woman--in a floppy hat with a red feather--sits in the park daily, and a small boy, ignored by his peers, sits with her in silence. She recalls the loneliness of her own childhood, assuaged by her grandfather, a storyteller. When she brought him an unusual stone she had found, Grandfather told her the Chumash legend of the worry stone: If it is rubbed gently, ""the worry goes away."" The old woman gives her stone to the boy, with a story and a promise of more stories to come. Dengler notes she invented the Chumash legend at the center of the story; it's one in a series of contrivances that the gentle tone fails to disguise. Finely rendered watercolors have a pretty iridescence but don't draw readers into the many-layered, emotionally unsatisfying tale.