Cover image for A gift from the sea
A gift from the sea
Banks, Kate, 1960-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Don de la mer. English
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Frances Foster Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Unaware of its eons-old history, a boy finds a rock and takes it home to a shelf beside his sea glass and starfish.
Reading Level:
AD 680 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.1 0.5 48635.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.6 1 Quiz: 25023 Guided reading level: K.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



"Banks and Hallensleben make beautiful books together." - American Bookseller

A boy picks up a rock that he finds on the beach. He holds it in his hand, and admires it. He doesn't know that the rock has been on a great journey through time in making its way to him: that it was spewed forth from a fiery volcano, then altered by eons of wind and rain, frozen during the ice age, and finally carried out into the ocean, where it lay on the floor of the sea before being thrust onto the shore at his feet. But he does know that it is a gift from the sea.

Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben combine their talents to tell a story that is as wonderfully simple as it is profound.

Author Notes

Kate Banks and Georg Hallensleben have collaborated on several books for children, including And If the Moon Could Talk , winner of the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Kate Banks lives in the South of France with her husband and two sons. Georg Hallensleben lives in Paris with his wife and daughter.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. The creators of And If the Moon Could Talk (1998) offer another title that brings a sense of the world's wideness into a small boy's room. A boy finds a rock at the beach. "He didn't know that the rock had been spewed from a fiery volcano," reads the next page. Subsequent spreads alternate between the rock's past--frozen under prehistoric icecaps, part of an early human's cave, a landmark in an ancient city--and present, held in the boy's hand and placed among his treasures at home. As usual, Banks uses graceful and rhythmic language that hums with the sense and sound of the words. The artwork is uneven (a caveman image is particularly muddied), and the rock's shifting size may confuse some children. But the successful spreads beautifully convey the story's profound, universal awe and deeply quiet comfort. Not as exceptional as some of the team's other recent titles, but still a strong offering. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this disarming reflection on permanence, the creators of And If the Moon Could Talk find the sublime in an ordinary stone. They begin in the present, as a boy finds a reddish, potato-shaped rock on an ochre beach. The scene then shifts to conical silhouettes and primordial explosions: "He didn't know that the rock had been spewed from a fiery volcano and cooled in the shade of a thousand years." Additional spreads picture a luxuriant jungle, fierce dinosaurs and pale-blue glaciers before returning to the modern boy: "He felt the ridges and grooves of the rock. He rubbed its rough edges." Further flashbacks show the rock among cavemen and as a landmark in an ancient city; though marble columns topple, the stone remains. By the time the contemporary boy places his find beside his box of sea glass, the rock's astonishing history has been well established. Hallensleben contrasts intimate close-ups of the present with middle-distance views of the remote past. His contemplative paintings model the slow progress of time, and every image includes a glimpse of the iron-oxide-brown rock as it erodes to the size of a child's hand. By expressing wonder at a seemingly mundane object, Banks and Hallensleben challenge readers to see the universe in a grain of sand. Ages 3-6. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-A boy finds a rock on a beach and, although he is unaware of its lengthy, dramatic history, he appreciates its beauty and accepts it as a "gift from the sea." The stretch of geologic time allows Hallensleben full use of the palette in creating his rich paintings: golden wheat fields, white pillars of an ancient city, the turquoise of the water. The simple prose takes poetic turns as the rock is "swallowed" by a river or rests in "crisp blue stillness" beneath the ice. Never mind that it is unlikely that a rock resting deep in the sea near a sunken ship will be delivered to a beach with its ridges and grooves still rough. This is a book to inspire wonder at the vast history of geology and the beauty of the sea and its gifts.-Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.