________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 14. . . . March 14, 2003

cover Rocksy.

Loris Lesynski.
Toronto, Annick Press, 2002.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-750-7 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-751-5 (cl.).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4 to 7.

Review by Cora Lee.

*** /4


The Spirit of the Forest called: "Ka-Plick-ety, Zick-kety zock."
And at those words,
the girl began
to change to solid rock.

She tried to rise
on boulder feet
but toppled to the ground,
then rolled and bowled and tumbled,
turning upside down around.
Banging crashing, bashing,
what an overwhelming fall!

A wish made in frustration on the fringes of the Magic Wood turns clumsy Roxanne into a living, breathing statue. Being "Rocksy," discovers Roxanne, certainly has its advantages: no more skinned knees or elbows, bumps, bruises or blood. But she's now too heavy now to ride her bike or play on the swings, too stony to see, taste, touch or talk properly - and still as clumsy as ever - Rocksy regrets her words. She bravely seeks out the Spirit of the Forest to present a new plan, one that wisely involves no magic. Rocksy is an intriguing mix of old and new. Like the fairy or folk tales of old, this tale is a cautionary one - counseling "beware what you wish" - and Rocksy indeed learns her lesson. But as befits a modern tale, Rocksy is a resourceful child; she soon finds and proposes her own solution, one which she convinces the Spirit to accept.

internal art

     The tone is lively in the way of modern fare and tempting to read-aloud readers. Author/illustrator Loris Lesynski's attention to word and sound is evident - you wouldn't expect less from a specialist in rhythm and rhyme. The very format of the lines on the page, the liberal use of dashes, dots, italics and bolding are all designed to give us clues to reading aloud.

     Her illustrations are similarly contemporary in tone though set in a medieval-type village in the woods. Two illustrations are especially effective: a map that neatly captures and makes sense of the events that precipitate Rocksy's adventure, and the diagrammatic representation, so like the way coaches diagram plays on a chalkboard, of Rocksy's playground lessons. And while the theme, the games the children play, and the words are all easily transplanted to a contemporary setting, (unless modern playgrounds, bikes and beds are too robust to break) the book uses the best of both worlds.


Cora Lee is a Vancouver, BC, writer and editor.


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364