Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
by William Steig
Sylvester Duncan the donkey loved to collect pebbles. One rainy day, he found a shiny, red pebble and wished it would stop raining. The rain immediately stopped and Sylvester concluded that his pebble must be magic. On his way home to show his parents, Sylvester runs into a lion and accidentally turns himself into a rock. Because he wasn't able to touch the magic pebble, he couldn't wish himself back into a donkey. He remains a rock for a year until his family goes on a picnic, finds the pebble, put it on top of Sylvester the rock (who they're using as a table) and he wishes himself back.
The book itself is of average shape, very large and hardcover, which makes it easier for young readers to grasp. The front and endpaper is just white, aside from some library stamps, which is good for young readers who might not have the patience to look at things before the story starts. The paper is pretty thick and durable, which is great for kids who can sometimes be a bit rough with books.
Almost all the illustrations in the book are done in bright, happy colors. The focus is always on the characters and what they're doing, and less on the background. The viewer is always looking at the scenes from the outside. In the rain scene, diagonal lines are used to show the motion of the rain. The illustration on the top left shows Sylvester with his magic pebble.The colors are very vivid and the sun is very bright. This helps to portray the calm, peaceful mood of the scene. The large tree, some indents in the ground, the pebbles, and Sylvester himself are all drawn with thicker, darker black lines, which helps convey their strength and permanence. The flowers are drawn without any black lines at all, which shows how fragile and impermanent that are. The illustration on the bottom right show Sylvester being reunited with his family. His parents are all wearing really loud colors that represent how joyful they are. The dad's jacket is bright yellow and green stripped and he is dancing, which emphasizes his happiness. In addition, the sun is exploding into a bunch of colors to further convey the joy in the illustration. All three of the donkeys were drawn with thicker, black lines and look like they have a fluffy texture. In this scene, the flowers were also drawn with heavy, dark lines which could represent that the joy and beauty in the scene is here to stay. This illustration really represents that family is important.
Elements of Illustration
The illustrations are framed with white. The text is also on the white parts, probably to keep it legible. The book has a fair amount of text, but it's large enough to be good for younger readers. The story and the pictures are both arranged chronologically and the when you turn the pages, you're moving farther into the story. This makes it easy for the audience to read the story and keep up with the plot and helps prevent them from getting lost or confused.