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*****= An all-time favorite
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****Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

by William Steig

Reviewed April 6, 2002.
Available at Sembach Library.  (E STE)

I’ve read in Writer’s Digest magazine that writers should not use coincidence to solve a character’s problems, but that it’s great to use coincidence to get him into problems.  We believe that people are unlucky, I guess!  This book is a fine example of a most effective use of this technique.

When Sylvester the donkey finds a Magic Pebble, he’s full of grandiose plans of what he’s going to do with it.  On his way home, wouldn’t you know it, he meets a lion, all ready to eat him up.  Sylvester panics.  There were lots of good wishes Sylvester could have made, but in the terror of the moment, he says “I wish I were a rock!”

Poor Sylvester!  Haven’t we all done something equally stupid at some time or other in our lives?  There’s something comforting and charming in this story, as Sylvester and his parents learn that, really, the best thing they could ever wish for is to have each other.

Reviews of other books by William Steig:
Yellow and Pink
Pete's a Pizza

Review of a book about William Steig:
The World of William Steig, by Lee Lorenz

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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