Pius Pelosi, a young pack rat, is a born collector who fills a room with his marvelous findings, attracting curious visitors. His very favorite item, a plain gray pebble, is given a place of honor, which baffles everyone. They all ask why he would keep such an ordinary stone. Bowing to public opinion, Pius gets rid of it, but in doing so, he discovers he's lost much more than just the pebble. This philosophical tale about a small creature who has the eye and soul of an artist is brought to life in distinctly droll watercolor illustrations.
"Gr. 1-3. Ruzzier, the illustrator of Lore Segal's Mole books, contributes both words and pictures to this unusual story about a pack rat who finds beauty in the discarded and overlooked. Visitors marvel at his finds, but they always criticize his first discovery: a plain, ordinary pebble. Pius loves it, but he falls to peer pressure and throws it away. Later, he thinks about the pebble instead of new discoveries, and nothing is fun. Despondent, he gives away all his objects, and then, feeling free and light, he finds another pebble that inspires treasure hunting once again. Illustrated in pale, ice-cream-colored spreads that seem as carefully composed as the smooth text, the story will work with several different age groups. An audience far older than the usual picture-book crowd may read the story as a philosophical meditation about the creative process and private inspiration. Younger children, however, will see their own special objects in Pius' stone and will feel his loss when he fails to listen to his heart. A thought-provoking parable for old and young alike. Pair with Mem Fox's Hunwick's Egg0 (2005). --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2006 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Ruzzier (Why Mole Shouted and Other Stories) employs his signature whimsical artwork for this parable featuring a pack rat named Pius Pelosi. Pius collects odds and ends on his long walks and displays them in his Room of Wonders. This long hall, lined with shelves and cubbies, brims with quirky, organically shaped objects that could easily be part of an "I Spy" game, as readers try to locate items from the text ("a dried leaf that looked like a dog, a toy soldier who had lost his gun, a glass eye," etc.). Ruzzier's characters' overlarge eyes and elongated noses seem ideally suited to this tale about inquisitiveness, and subtle humor comes through in the text. Beneath a scene of Pius talking to a pair of visitors to his collection (one being a cat) the text reads, "Sometimes, when he knew nothing about a particular object, he would make up a story so that nobody went away with curiosity unsatisfied." One day, his guests disparage a small gray pebble featured prominently in the room. Readers discover its significance: it was the first thing the hero ever collected. Yet Pius gets rid of it, then chucks his entire collection. The austere backdrops of European-looking passageways and desolate landscapes dotted with peculiar tubular plants conjure the feeling of queasy uneasiness when one goes against one's gut. The scene in which Pius discovers a new (or is it the same?) gray pebble is worth the price of admission. Sure to prompt good discussion about staying true to oneself. Ages 4-8. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved