The Rock from the Sky

Publisher: Walker Books

A turtle finds an ideal place to stand but an armadillo has a bad feeling about it. Then a snake appears and complicates the issue even more. All the while, a huge rock is falling from the sky. Where will it land? And what is the strange eye in the woods?

Told in five short chapters, The Rock From The Sky has more pages than a traditional picture book but because the text is minimal, it takes about as long to read as a normal story. In the first short chapter, Armadillo and Snake persuade Turtle to move from his perfect standing place. In the second, Turtle denies that he needs help. In the third, the friends think about the future. In part four, there is a lovely sunset, and in part five, there are some surprises.

For readers for whom Klassen is already a bit of a legend, The Rock From The Sky will definitely not disappoint: it’s full of the same sideways looks from animals, brilliant pauses and occasional CAPITALISED SHOUTING. Nothing much ever really happens in a Klassen book but what does happen is gripping, relatable and complexly hilarious.

Like the best children’s picture books (and like all Klassen’s books, such as I Want My Hat Back), the story is very simple, the artwork is remarkable and the story itself has a kind of sophistication that adults and kids both love. As with his other books, Klassen’s use of deadpan dialogue between two characters in short sentences brings so much humour, and the build-up of tension as to what will happen when the rock falls is absolutely brilliant.

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