Mr. Tate’s class disappoints their fans with this outing to Rocky Ridge Mountain and a look at the ways people use rocks.
Ranger Pedra meets the students and introduces them to the notion that rocks have stories to tell. The class counts what they “hear” from a boulder: one sculptor, two cement trucks, three beetles, four oceanside mounds of drying salt, five baby turtles in the sand, six stalactites dripping water, seven gems, a sidewalk comprising eight pieces of slate, nine bricks and 10 panes of glass. Ranger Pedra goes on to mention the fact that rocks help date the world, and Mr. Tate asks for other ways rocks are used in everyday life. Snow’s digital collages are well-suited to the subject matter, though the people seem more wooden and obviously digital than in previous entries. Overall, the team of Formento and Snow has not been able to capture the same winning combination of education and story as they did with their first, This Tree Counts! (2010). This latest has the same ambiguous-audience problem that plagued These Seas Count! (2013), the counting pages dumbing material down for the youngest listeners (failing to even introduce geology vocabulary; stalactites are called “cave spears”) while the backmatter presents paragraphs of information for a significantly older audience. An uneven flow may also cause readers to lose interest midway.
Those wishing to share the natural world with kids should begin with Ellen Stoll Walsh and then move on to works by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. (Picture book. 4-7)