Recommended for readers 4-8
Meet Petra. She’s an eternal, unmoving mountain. But, wait – a dog picks Petra up and brings her to its owner, who tosses her into a bird’s nest. No worries. She’s an egg, loaded with potential, once she hatches. Oops, nope… Mama Bird has returned, and tosses Petra into a lake. No problem. She’s an amazing island! Oh… now, she’s in a young girl’s room, where she’s transformed… into something new and exciting. You see, Petra isn’t stressed about it: she’s all about the present; experiences; potential and becoming. And that’s what makes this book, and this rock, such a wonderful read. Petra is along for the journey, not the destination. She is laid back, and lives in the moment. She’s happy with herself and in whatever situation she finds herself, because she’s able to find the excitement and joy – thanks, in part, to her vivid imagination – in everything. Can you think of a better outlook?
This is a great book to read to kids, especially preschoolers, who are still learning to transition from one task to another. It allows for a lot of interactivity: ask questions like, do you think Petra is a mountain? Is that a really, really big dog? What do you think will happen next? Where do you think Petra will go next? Let them draw their own Petras, and see where their imaginations take them. Talk to them about emotions and feelings: is Petra angry when she gets picked up and moved? What does she do? Talk about being positive and seeing new experiences as an exciting adventure.
The artwork is just adorable. It reminds me a bit of Jon Klassen’s artwork, which drew me to the cover in the first place. It’s rendered in digital collage, pastels, and tempera, giving a soft, textured feel to Petra and her surroundings. The endpapers look like close-ups of rock, inviting readers to guess what they’re looking at before we start the story. Think of this as Zen Shorts for the preschool set.
I’m going to read this one during my yoga storytime, for sure. Petra has starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus. You can see more of Marianna Coppo’s illustration at her Tumblr. Originally published in Italian, Petra is available in English in February.