A well-crafted conversation starter that touches on many themes, including perspective, relevance, and potential.
Meet Petra, a smooth gray oval of possibility. When first encountered, Petra appears to be an ancient mountain, one that loomed high above dinosaurs and inspired knightly quests. When the perspective changes via the introduction of a canine, readers see that Petra is a large pebble. The encounter with the dog (and its white owner) causes Petra to believe in turn that she is an egg in a nest and then (once exiled by a parent bird) an island in a pond. With each encounter, Petra’s optimistic outlook never dampens: “Whatever I become, I’m bound to be amazing!” She is eventually claimed by a young white child and painted to look like an elephant. At book’s end, Petra wonders, “What will I be tomorrow? Who knows? Well, no need to worry. I’m a rock, and this is how I roll.” Coppo accomplishes a lot with a little. Her illustrations—a mixture of tempera, pastels, and digital collage—are simple but emote mountains. Petra’s facial expressions mirror the text elegantly, often with the subtlest shift of pupil orientation or a minor change in the shape of the mouth. The result is a book that will work in both large storytimes and intimate lap reads.
Lending itself to a range of readings, from perspective to an exploration of identity, this Italian import is a pleasingly intelligent book. (Picture book. 4-8)