by Kevin White and Alyssa Parsons, illustrator
Age 91 pages
“A boy, a Grandfather, and a small river stone with unmitigated power come together in a story that tugs at one’s own heart and memories. In the story, we follow eight year old (sic) C. C. through a summer on his grandfather’s farm. We see them share in events and experiences that grow and strengthen their relationship, and, like links in a chain, bind them together. And through it all, the power and mystery o the Whisper Stone ebbs and flows, and remembers.”
“Grandpa was a story-teller. He was a fisherman too, and I never met a fisherman who couldn’t tell a good story now and then. Some of his stories were true, and sometimes they were warped by time and emotion.”
Eight-year-old C.C. is spending the summer with grandpa on his farm. On a fishing trip, the two were out to catch Nessie, a giant twenty pound—at least—Northern Pike. Hearing a couple of men talk about Nessie, C. C. made the bold claim that he could catch her. Of course, the men had a good laugh at C. C.’s bravado. Both grandpa and C.C. caught fish that day. C. C.’s catch was the largest of the day, but was it actually Nessie?
Throughout C. C.’s stay that summer, several interesting tidbits occurred. A calf was born, thanks to grandpa’s quick thinking. Named Newton, it would eventually go to auction. C. C. was not happy about Newton leaving and took it upon himself to bid, not knowing what exactly he was bidding. Newton sold for eighty-five cents . . . per pound. Grandpa had stories to tell C. C., all of which he could remember thanks to a small, smooth stone he always kept in his pocket. He called it a whisper stone. The stone heard and remembered things that happened, whispering it back to Grandpa when he needed a story. That stone recalled many stories to, just from that one summer.
The Whisper Stone tells some fine stories, all of them funny. I loved it when C. C. imprinted the turkeys, but he thought they were chasing him. He was afraid of those turkeys but the scene was quite funny. It would be easy to write this in a one-dimensional fashion, but Kevin White put much heart into the tales, some tall, that Grandpa tells his grandson. Mr. White has written several excellent picture books. This short novel may be his first foray into chapter books. At 89 pages, divided into thirteen short chapters, young readers, including reluctant, can read a little and then pick it up later. The stone is the only constant binding the stories together. C. C. and Grandpa make a perfect match, and by the time the last page is turned, C. C. will be a man, raised in many ways by that summer on the farm.
The illustrations are black and white sketches with loads of emotion packed into them. I like the cover and think the illustrations would have been terrific had they also been in color. Still, for the layout of the book, the font used, and the length, black and white images work well as photographic shots of a life on a farm
I like the ending, though it reminds me of a Cat Steven’s song. The Whisper Stone makes a perfect bedtime story. Each chapters tells a short story, making them excellent stopping points. The farm stories come full circle with the final chapter. Though sad, the last chapter is an excellent ending, wrapping up the whisper stone’s history with Grandpa quite nicely.
Learn more about The Whisper Stone HERE.
THE WHISPER STONE. Text copyright © 2013 by Kevin White. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Alyssa Parsons. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chimeric Press, West Branch, MI.