Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

by William Steig


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In a moment of fright, Sylvester the donkey asks his magic pebble to turn him into a rock but then cannot hold the pebble to wish himself back to normal again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812401042
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/1987
Sales rank: 1,229,613
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range: 5 - 8 Years

About the Author

William Steig (1907–2003) was a cartoonist, illustrator, and author of award-winning books for children. Most notably Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, for which he received the Caldecott Medal; The Amazing Bone, a Caldecott Honor book; Amos & Boris, a National Book Award Finalist; and Abel’s Island and Doctor De Soto, both Newbery Honor books. Steig is also the creator of Shrek! which inspired the Dreamworks films. Steig also received the Christopher Award, the Irma Simonton Black Award, the William Allen White Children’s Book Award, the America Book Award, and Society of Illustrators Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also the US nominee for both of the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Awards as an illustrator in 1982, and then as an author in 1988. He is survived by his wife, Jeanne Steig, and four children.

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Sylvester and the Magic Pebble 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I rediscovered this story recently, after seeing it on "Reading Rainbow." As a kid, I was thrilled by the story of Sylvester, a donkey who finds a magic pebble and accidentally wishes that he were a rock. The story stuck with me all of these years, and I recently read it to my 4 year old daugther. I will admit, at first reading, she was upset by the story, since Sylvester's parents cannot find him for a long, long time and she just didn't understand why he wasn't turning back into a donkey. Upon the 2nd reading (and many more after that!) this part of the story became less important, and she now loves it. We love taking turns thinking of things we would wish for with a magic pebble, and we talk about how important each person of our family is; we are thrilled by Sylvester's reuniuon with his family. I love being able to pass down a favorite story from my childhood!
caltstatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an entertaining story of how you better watch what you wish for. Sylvester is a young donkey who finds a magic pebble and soon finds himself a rock and can't go home. His parents are sad and everyone in the town looks for Sylvester. One day many months later, Sylvester's parents go for a picnic near the rock that is Sylvester. His father finds the magic pebble and places it on the rock while Sylvester is wishing he was a donkey again. Then, "poof" he's a donkey again.This has a good moral to it and young children could learn to be careful what you want or wish for.
Jourdon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
William Steig¿s picture book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is a Caldecott award book about a donkey that finds a magic pebble. Avoiding being attacked by a lion, Sylvester the donkey wishes he was a rock. Unfortunately, Sylvester has no hands to make the wish of returning to a donkey. The illustrator conveys the families¿ grief of Sylvester¿s loss. The story is about magic and cautions readers on what they wish for. The illustrations are soft, muted, welcoming, and rich with color. The animals live in a human world wearing clothes and living in houses. Children will love this happy tale with fable like qualities.
MelanieRoss on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book about a young boy named Sylvester who loves to collect rocks and pebbles. One day, he finds one that he immediately falls in love with because it is a small, shiny, red pebble. He notices that every time he touches this pebble, his wishes come true. (He wished for the rain to cease, and it did.) While walking back to his house, a lion scares him so he says aloud that he wishes he were a rock; so, he turned into one (because of the magic pebble). Sylvester's parents were devastated that he was missing, but one day they go for a picnic and sit by the rock that is actually Sylvester. They wish that he were there with them; so, he turns back from a rock to his real body. This is a book that I read aloud to the students in my class and they loved it! I used it for a science lesson about rocks. I introduced the topic by reading this book. Then, we continued with our rock lesson and classified rocks that I gave them to keep as their own "magic pebble."
RoseMarion on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A sweet donkey named Sylvester Duncan has a very happy life with his mother and father. One day he finds a beautiful red pebble and soon discerns that it is magical. As long as Sylvester holds the pebble, he can wish for anything he wants in the whole entire world. How exciting! Sylvester can¿t wait to get home and tell his parents about this amazing find. Unfortunately, on his way home Sylvester faces danger and wishes to become a rock. Now he can¿t pick up the pebble and wish to become himself again. Thus, Sylvester is a permanent rock for the foreseeable future which sends him into a depression. In the meantime, his loving parents worry and wonder about what happened to their beloved Sylvester. They look for him high and low and inquire of all of their neighbors about Sylvester. Nobody has seen him and when the searchers visit Strawberry Hill and stumble upon the rock that is now Sylvester neither Sylvester nor they can communicate with one another. What will Sylvester do to solve his problem? Is he stuck as a rock forever or can he somehow become himself again? Told in many words which may be unusual for a children¿s picture book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble which is written and illustrated by William Steig, is extremely interesting and heartfelt. It accurately conveys the deep love that exists between children and their parents and the extreme excitement of finding a way to have all of one's wishes granted. Furthermore, the art work within the book is spot on in terms of conveying the character¿s emotions and reactions. In fact, this classic picture book won the Caldecott Medal in 1970. I highly recommend this picture book to anyone who loves children¿s literature and even those who normally don¿t read children¿s books. It will make you feel good!
CLCrothers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story is about a young donkey named Sylvester who likes to collect pebbles. Sylvester finds a pretty unusual pebble that he decides would be a nice addition to his collection. When he finds this pebble it is raining, and he wishes for the rain to stop. When the rain stops, Sylvester realizes that the pebble is magic. This turns into a problem for Sylvester when he makes the wrong wish!I can relate to this story because I have often wished for something magical to happen to make my day better. This story has a good lesson in it, one that definitely applies to life. You'll just have to read the book to find out what it is!In the classroom I would bring in and have the students bring in pebbles or stones that they have found around their homes and show them to the rest of the class. Another idea would be to allow the children to paint and decorate their own pebbles or stones.
ambourg7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
William Steig does a fantastic job of allowing the illustrations and text to combine together and give a magical story. The cover illustrations show the reader before they open the book that the animals are magical because they are dressed in clothes. The illustrations use a variety of simple colors, not to bold nor to simple. The facial expressions of the animals show so much more detail and concern. The shapes of the objects and characters flow throughout the whole story.
lauraklandoll on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is a story about a young donkey, named Sylvester, who lives in Oatsdale with his loving parents. Sylvester likes collecting pebbles of unusual shape and color. He finds a magical red pebble, which grants wishes. Sylvester's extreme excitment over being able to have his wishes granted, causes him to make an unwise wish, during a time of panick. He turns himself into a rock. Sylvester's parents rescue him, and he learns he has nothing more to wish for, than he already has.This story remined me of all the times, as a child, I wanted to be able to make a wish and get the special toy of my dreams, or as an adult, wipe away all my problems. Just like Sylvester, I did learn, I really have nothing more to wish for, than I already have.I would take the opportunity to incorperate a talk on rock collecting, and all the wonderful specimens they could encounter, maybe even finding a magic pebble. We could look at more books on rock collecting. Another extension, looking for books about wishes. Old books, such as "Aladdin's Lamp" as well as recent books.
TheMightyQuinn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sylvester is a young donkey who likes collecting pebbles, one day he finds a magic pebble that grants his wishes, but unfortunately he runs into a lion and wishes he was a rock and traps himself as a rock. This is said to be Steig's version of Pinocchio because of Sylvester's longing to be a donkey again and is occasionally criticized for depicting police officers as pigs. Typical Steig illustration in pen and color. Good story about being careful what you wish for. All reader appropriate and acceptable in any picture book collection.
psjones on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book. The language and vocabulary is highly intelligent. The message was that it is better to be content with what you have. Family is also very important in the story.
ericarhenry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I had completely forgotten about this book and I came across it at the library and was so happy to see it again. This was one of my absolute favorites as a child and I really enjoyed reading it again. It's a great story about Sylvester, a young donkey, who wanders off and finds a magic pebble. He realizes that he can wish for anything and the pebble grants his wish. He comes across a lion, panics, and accidentally changes himself into a rock and can't get back to his donkey self. His parents and the townspeople are devastated and look everywhere for him. Just when they think he is gone, they bring a picnic to him and unknowingly set the magic pebble on top of him. Sylvester wishes he were himself again and all of a sudden, he is. It's a great story with fantastic illustrations that I will always enjoy.
C.Ibarra on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was part of my 1st graders "Virtual Academy" curriculum. It helped us explore how a character's facial expression can tell us how they are feeling. The illustrations also helped to reinforce how the pictures can clue the reader into what is happening on the pages. Our favorite part was trying to guess the season by looking for clues in the pictures on each page. This is really a wonderful book with an excellent lesson, but my 1st grader is very empathetic and when Sylvester turned himself into a rock she was on the verge of tears. Thankfully repeat readings were enjoyable because she knows she can expect a happy ending.
jebass on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sylvester is a donkey who collects pretty rocks. He stumbles upon a particularly smooth, beautiful red stone one afternoon, and quickly discovers that the rock is magic, and anything he wishes for magically appears. He is busy imagining his new life with a magic rock and celebrating his good fortune when he sees a lion in the distance. Fearing for his life, he wishes¿of all things he could have wished for!¿to turn into a rock. He does, but when the danger passes, he is unable to wish himself back, as you must physically be holding the magic pebble in order for it to work. His parents search, frantic with worry, and begin to mourn the loss of their son Sylvester; meanwhile, Sylvester becomes increasingly hopeless, accepting his fate, to spend the rest of forever as a boring inanimate rock. In an effort to overcome their sadness, his parents decide to picnic one day, happening to use Sylvester the Rock as a picnic table. Sylvester¿s father picks up the magic pebble from the ground, admiring it, saying that Sylvester would have liked it a lot. He places the magic pebble on Sylvester the Rock-slash-picnic table, and Sylvester wishes with all his might that he was his real self again. Instantly, he is transformed back into a donkey, and the family celebrates. When they get home, Sylvester¿s father locks the pebble into an iron safe; one day, perhaps, it might be useful again, but for now, the family is too happy to be reunited to worry about the pebble¿s endless possibilities.This story could serve as a lead-in to an open discussion about the point of the story, which seems to be to be careful what you wish for, not to count your eggs before they hatch, etc.
kidlit9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sylvester finds a magic pebble, but when he sees a lion, he gets scared and wishes he was a rock, which makes it hard to wish again.
KaydeeParrish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: This book is about a young donkey who loves rocks. One day he finds a magic pebble and is so excited. The magic pebble grants wishes, so Sylvester discovers he can make it do anything he wants it to. He is on his way home when he sees a lion. Sylvester gets scared and wishes himself into a rock. He then realizes he can't turn himself back into a donkey. His parents are worried for months and months. They finally go out on a picnic where the rock is and have a conversation about wishing Sylvester was home. Sylvester turns back into himself and his parents are glad to have found him.Personal Reaction: It's a great book for children. It lets them get an idea of fantasy and how they can imagine anything in the world. It also shows how parents get when they can't find their children which I don't think children realize how scary that is for a parent.Classroom Extensions:1. I would have my students make a magic pebble and write down a wish that they would want to come true.2. I would use this book to teach students how important it is to always let an adult know where they are. The book shows how worried Sylvester's parents get when they can't find him.
ecugary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sylvester the donkey collects pebbles and marbles. One day he finds an extraordinary, bright red pebble. He learns that the pebble grants wishes. When he encounters a scary lion he is overtaken with fear and forgets to wish the lion away. He turns himself into a rock instead, and the pebble rolls away¿out of reach. Months later, his parents are picnicking and use Sylvester, now a rock, as a table. Sylvester finds the red pebble and places it on top of the Sylvester. All of a sudden, Sylvester returns and his family rejoices at the reunion.I think this is another story that needs to be read strictly for pleasure.
aflanig1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great story that shows you should be careful what you wish for and to be thankful/happy with what you have in life.
restock on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Appropriate for all ages as a book for wishing we were something or someone else. In particular the 6-8 year olds loved this book about a donkey that finds a maagic pebble and turns himself into a rock. Saved, of course, by loving parents.
MelAKnee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sylvester is excited to find a magic pebble that grants him wishes, that is, until he accidentally wishes himself into a rock. His parents are worried and have almost given up hope until one day they use a big rock as their table during a picnic.
amygatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was another of my favorite books as a child. This book really appealed to me because it was imaginative and I also loved the message - you don't need a magic pebble if you have a family that loves you. I recently read this book to my two-year-old niece and she loved it too, so this book appeals to readers of all ages. This book was challenged because it depicts the police officers as pigs - it is my opinion that any child reading this book would not make that connection, although I'm sure many adults reading it to children would. The fact that all the characters are animals makes this a pretty harmless portrayal in my opinion.
Stephanyk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is appropriate for the grades pre-k through second. Sylvester Duncan is a donkey that lives with his parents in Oatsdale. His hobby is to collect unusual pebbles. One day he finds a magical red pebble that grants him his every wish. On his way home to show his parents he becomes startled by a lion and wishes to turn into a rock. Sylvester is no longer holding the pebble and so he cannot wish himself to turn back into a donkey. Mr. and Mrs. Duncan go searching everywhere for Sylvester but are unable to find him. Seasons pass and finally, one spring day Mr. and Mrs. Duncan decide to have a picnic on Strawberry hill on top of Sylvester! Mr. Duncan finds the red pebble next to the rock and puts it on top of Sylvester. Sylvester wishes to be a donkey again and is reunited with his family. At the end the Duncan family decides to put the pebble away because they have everything they need. Uses in the Classroom:- I would have students write out three wishes they would make if they had a magic pebble.- Discuss the moral of the story, be happy with what you have. - I would have students write out three things they are lucky to have in their lives.- As an art activity I would bring in pebbles and paint so that children can make their own magic pebbles.
elpowers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sweet story, cute pictures
ReadAloudDenver on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sylvester finds a magic pebble that grants wishes but accidentally wishes himself into a rock when startled by a hungry lion. The book takes us on an emotional journey as the parents undergo feelings of sadness and despair. The book ends happily with Sylvester turning back into his donkey self and reuniting with his parents. This book uses an extensive vocabulary with words like ceased, gradually, disappear, relatives, relatives, bewildered, confused, perplexed, panicked, billion, possibilities, nook, gully, hopeless, stone-dumb and mysterious.
Johnika on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sylvester and The Magic Pebbles is a great tale of ¿Be Careful What You Wish For!!¿This is a story about Sylvester Duncan (a donkey) who collected unusual pebbles as a hobby. While out one day searching for more unique pebbles, he came across a beautiful red magical marbel. He discovered that while holding this marbel, any wish he made would come true. Well, while walking home, Sylvester came across a big mean looking lion. Terrified of what the lion might do to him, he wishes he could become a rock. Well, this one wish changed his life and his parent¿s life forever.Recommended for children aged 3 to 8Another book written in the same decade: Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
cjfox73 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The moral is that Sylvester learns to be happy with what he has. Children will appreciate the simple message and the sweet illustrations.