#1131 – Rice and Rocks by Sandra L. Richards & Megan Kayleigh Sullivan

Rice & Rocks
Written by Sandra L. Richards
Illustrated by Megan Kayleigh Sullivan
Wise Ink Creative Publishing  8/23/2016
32 pages    Ages 4—8

Themes: Jamaican cooking, friends, culture, diversity

Genre: Children’s Fiction Picture Book, Multicultural

Synopsis: “Giovanni’s friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed—he does not like “rice and rocks” and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni’s pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks. This exciting story celebrates the varied traditions of every culture while also highlighting the delicious similarities that brings us all together.” [INSIDE JACKET]

Opening: “I woke up feeling great! It was Sunday. No school. No itchy uniform. I could play my trumpet, read my Godzilla comics, draw another frog picture, and hang out with Jasper. What I loved most about Sundays was my whole family came to visit.”

Why I like this book:
~ I love how Giovanni worries about whether his friends will like the Jamaican Sunday dinner of steamed chicken and rice and beans; particularly the rice and beans. Giovanni calls this dish “Rice and Rocks.”

~ Jasper, Giovanni’s pet; a (large) Congo African grey parrot has magical powers, and from the illustrations, it looks like Jasper can read comics.

~ Rice and beans is a Jamaican tradition. Three more traditions are in Rice and Rocks.

~ Jasper and Giovanni’s Auntie take a magical trip to the homeland of each of Giovanni’s friends: Puerto Rico (Emily), New Orleans (Gabby), and Japan (Aaron).

~ The national bird of each homeland greets Giovanni, Auntie, and Jasper: Oku, a green pheasant from Japan; Idalia, a spindalis from Puerto Rico; and Flint, a brown pelican from ‘N’Awlins (New Orleans).

~ Giovanni’s favorite trumpet-playing hero, Louis Armstrong, loved red rice and beans and often signed letters with the signature line: “Red Beans and Ricely Yours.”

~ Giovanni learns he and his friends are not as different as he might have thought. Each homeland eats a version of rice and rocks.

~ Emily, Gabby, and Aaron each . . . well, I cannot divulge what happens. You must read Rice and Rocks to find out. I think you will love this story.

Comments:  I loved the story, especially learning about all four cultures and their food traditions. The opening is not needed, though the illustration is fantastic!. Most stories do not need a waking up scene, unless it is important to the story. In Rice and Rocks it is not important. The only thing of value in the opening (spread 1) is learning it was Sunday, a day when the entire family arrives for dinner. But even that is not of great importance. What is important are the three friends arriving for dinner and Giovanni’s nervousness about grandma serving her rice and beans dish.


For kids who like to cook, here are some Caribbean recipes (Jamaica is in the Caribbean Sea) might like to make (with an adult).

Here are some popular Jamaican dishes and a bit more about Jamaican culture, for those interested in cooling with an adult.

A mere 600 miles south of Miami, Florida is the Jamaican coast. Here are some fun facts about Jamaica from National Geographic.

Fun Jamaica games kids living there love to play.

Learn about Jamaican wildlife and marine life.

Learn about the rare wildlife in Jamaica.

AND . . .

For teachers, a PDF lesson plan about Jamaica.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE. (https://susannahill.com/for-teachers-and-parents/perfect-picture-books/)

RICE AND ROCKS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Sandra L. Richards. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Megan Kayleigh Sullivan. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wise Ink Creative Publishing , Minneapolis, MN.

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Add RICE AND ROCKS to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.

Illustrations from RICE AND ROCKS by Sandra L. Richards copyright © 2016 by Megan Kayleigh Sullivan. Used with permission from Wise Ink Creative Publishing .

Copyright © 2017 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Rice and Rocks
Written by Sandra L. Richards
Illustrated by Megan Kayleigh Sullivan
Wise Ink Creative Publishing 8/23/2016


9 thoughts on “#1131 – Rice and Rocks by Sandra L. Richards & Megan Kayleigh Sullivan

  1. Love the illustrations and message of this book! I’ve never heard of beans referred to as rocks either, although some of the things I’ve cooked have been referred to as, “harder than rocks!” 🙂 Great review, Sue!


    • According to the author, Louis Armstrong would write “Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Louis Armstrong. There are no source notes, so I am going on the author’s text. Very interesting. Apparently, he really loved red beans and rice. He did live in New Orleans. I had no idea myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have visited Jamaica twice, so I’d love this story. Beautiful island and people. This book is packed with so many themes. I love the sharing of cultural traditions. And, boy does that cover eye-popping! Lovely illustrations!


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