Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
A young donkey finds a magic pebble in a field and makes an unfortunate wish.
My fondness for William Steig is neverending. As a kid I loved curling up with Amos & Boris, cheering on Dr. De Soto as he thwarted a scheming wolf, and especially empathizing with Sylvester in Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. It’s a story about a young donkey who loves collecting rocks and one day finds an interesting, magical pebble while he’s out alone. In a hastey attempt to avoid a threat, he wishes to be turned into a rock, and suddenly disappears. Thinking he’s gone for good, his parents miss him terribly, until one day they happen upon that same magic pebble that Sylvester loved so much.
I was always the wanderer, picking up scraps of nature as I walked; I had a sizable rock collection housed safely in a box under my bed. I always empathized with Sylvester’s dream of magic rocks, but also didn’t know what I’d do without my parents (let alone them, without me!). Reading the story always gave me pause, and made me appreciate what I had. William Steig has a gift for presenting complex emotional situations in a way kids can digest and empathize with; Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is no exception.