This paradoxically didactic, discordant picture book attempts to introduce children to Zen teachings.
When Elephant doesn’t show up for their daily playtime, Rock goes on an adventure to find his missing friend. Along the way, he meets up with such characters as Speck (a "pile" of sand) and Spark (a “fiery flintstone”) who try to comfort him with non-Western spiritual teachings like ”Everything around you is changing every moment” and “Look around you, everything is right here.” Unfortunately, the didacticism gets in the way of the story and the text never finds its rhythm, abruptly switching from prose to a variety of rhyming patterns that simply don’t work: “Where could he be? / I miss him to pieces. I’m so lonely.” Rock is voiced by an adult adopting an annoyingly high voice and lisp, apparently in an attempt to sound like a small child. Each page features different sound effects or music, so every time a page advances, the soundtrack stops and starts, disrupting the continuity of the story. The illustrations are serviceable, the navigation works fine and tips are available at the tap of a button
Skip this “Rock” and check out the far superior Zen Shorts and companion books by Jon J Muth. (iPad storybook app. 4-7)