Stone Wall Secrets

by Kristine Thorson

Other authorsGustav Moore (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2003



Call number

PZ7 .T3992



Tilbury House Publishers (2003), 40 pages


As he and his grandson walk along the stone walls surrounding his New England farm, an old man shares stories about the geologic history of the stones as well as some of the memories they hold for him.

User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
When Adam's grandfather receives a letter from a stonemason, offering to buy the stones that make up the walls on their farm, and he asks for his grandson's opinion, the young boy is sure of his answer. After all, who needs "those old rocks" anymore? But as Adam and his grandfather tour the walls, repairing them as they go, the older man explains the long history of these stones: the dramatic geological events - from the cataclysmic meeting of continents, which transformed a beach into a mountain, to the slow passing of the glaciers, which compacted the rocks beneath - that shaped them; and the human events that they witnessed, in more recent times.

Clearly a vehicle for the authors' love of geology, and of the stone walls of New England (Robert M. Thorson is a geology professor, and has published Stone by Stone: The Magnificent History in New England's Stone Walls for adults), Stone Wall Secrets is an engaging presentation of a subject one rarely sees discussed in children's literature, outside of explicitly factual books. Namely: the long history of the world's stones. I appreciated that the tale was told from an older person's perspective, as opposed to a child's, as this will allow young readers to identify with people of another generation, and help them to understand the feelings and hopes of their elders.

The narrative is a little too involved and lengthy for the youngest children, but middle-grade students will appreciate it, especially those with an interest in the topic. I was particularly struck by the passage in which the Thorsons compare the stone walls to a library: "The walls were like a library, stacked high with earthen books. Each stone contained a story of time and place now gone - an older story of oceans, mountains, glaciers, and native peoples who left their mark on the land. And each wall also told a younger story - of Yankee pioneers and those who followed, like Grandpa, and Adam himself." Although uncomfortable with the grouping of Native American peoples with the natural phenomena here, rather than the subsequent human story of settlement of the land, I did really like the message that stones have much to teach us, and that everything (and everyone) is interconnected.
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Original language


Physical description

40 p.; 9.26 inches


0884481956 / 9780884481959
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