Title: Rhoda’s Rock Hunt
Written By: Molly Beth Griffin
Illustrated By: Jennifer A. Bell
Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press, October 2014
Suitable For Ages: 5-8
Themes/Topics: nature, camping, family, collecting, responsibility, independence, decision-making
Opening: When Rhoda’s Auntie June and Uncle Jonah took her on a long, long hike from their up-north cabin, her shower was a bucket of cold lake water…
Brief Synopsis: (from Goodreads) Rhoda is on a long, long hike with her aunt and uncle, each of them carrying backpacks of gear as they walk through the north woods. While Auntie June and Uncle Jonah watch for wildlife and set up their campsites, Rhoda is on the hunt for one thing: ROCKS. She finds them in all shapes and patterns, from hearts and hats to stripes and sparkles. And every last treasure goes into her pack, making it heavier and heavier as they hike through forests and along streams. Soon Rhoda is sweaty, and tired of salami sandwiches, and wishing for her own bed. Then, on the last day, they come to the Big Lake. And its beach is covered in rocks. Rhoda can’t believe her luck. After hours of play and even more rock discoveries, it’s time to head for home. By now Rhoda’s pack is too heavy to lift. Will she give up her rocks and return to the cabin for a real shower, a hot meal, and a soft bed? Or will she stay on the beach forever with her beloved collection? Her clever solution makes the most of her treasures—and offers delights for other hikers.
Why I Like This Book: When I saw this book featured on Celebrate Picture Books for “Collect Rocks Day” last month, I knew I had to read it with my son. He is obsessed with collecting rocks. He tries to bring them home from everywhere!
The great thing about this book is that it shows a little girl having to be responsible for the rocks she’s collecting. She’s backpacking through the woods with her aunt and uncle, and she has to carry her share of the equipment along with any rocks she wants to keep. Rhoda keeps loading them into her pack and it keeps getting heavier and heavier until she finally realizes she can’t carry them any more. She has to make some decisions, and I love that she decides to build cairns with the rocks she cannot carry.
We just saw some cairns on a hike recently with my brother and his family, so this book seemed really relevant. The aunt and uncle in the story really reminded me of my brother-in-law as well. He often takes my son tromping through the woods, so this story was very pertinent to our family.
I think older children (ages 5-8) would enjoy this story and be able to absorb the lessons of being responsible for one’s self, learning independence, and making decisions on their own. The illustrations are pretty awesome also.
On the blog last year…