Rhoda’s Rock Hunt by Molly Beth Griffin is one of those children’s books that passes my re-read test. I really dislike re-reading a badly written book and there are a lot out there. I’m almost afraid to take my kids to the library because I know we’ll come home with some book with a licensed character on the cover and a bad retelling of the movie inside. It will show up at the top the reading pile until I can sneak it back to the library. It’s refreshing to find a book that my kids and I all enjoy re-reading.One thing I love about Rhoda’s Rock Hunt is that it is a children’s story about hiking and camping but its not all sunsets and fresh air. The good and bad are both mentioned. We can all relate to feeling sweaty and crabby by the third day of camping and who hasn’t had something like a pine cone keep them awake all night? Reaching the beach washes away all the hard work and leaves both Rhoda and the reader with good feelings about the hike.
My kids — and probably all kids — relate to rock collecting and how much those rocks can weigh down a backpack. Rhoda’s dilemma on the beach of which rocks to leave and which to keep is a familiar problem. We have to make those choices every day from which rocks we will carry to which toys will fill our bedrooms. This is a great opportunity to quietly remind our kids that choices are a part of our lives. We can’t have it all; and all is not better. Ultimately what Rhoda does with the rocks she leaves behind will create a better memory than a pack full of rocks that are all kind of similar.
This book is recommended for ages 3-7. I might slide that age scale up a little. To keep my three year old interested, I would need a stash of rocks I could hand him as we read about the different types. He would need something concrete (pun not intended) to keep his attention. (Interestingly, Tinkergarten shares this exact activity to go with this book here, so I am not the only one who thought this would be a good preschool activity to go with this book.) On the flip side, although below her reading level, my 10-year-old enjoys this book enough to read it out loud to her brothers.
This is a good book to take camping for the lazy parts of the day. It will also inspire the kids to want to get out for a hike and play with rocks on the beach. In fact, we found it in the visitors center of William O’Brien Park and read it one rainy afternoon while we hung out there.
I keep a couple shelves of books for the kids. One shelf holds books that can be traded out to the Little Free Library and one is keepers – the ones I like to re-read. This book will remain on our keeper shelf.
- Title: Rhoda’s Rock Hunt
- Author: Molly Beth Griffin
- Illustrator: Jennifer A. Bell
- Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press.
I was provided a complimentary copy of the book to facilitate my review. The opinions are my own.