Cover image for Rocks in his head
Rocks in his head
Hurst, Carol Otis.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, 2001.
Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
A young man has a lifelong love of rock collecting that eventually leads him to work at a science museum.
Reading Level:
440 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.5 0.5 49750.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.6 2 Quiz: 25199 Guided reading level: K.

Format :


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

On Order



Some people collect stamps. Other people collect coins. Carol Otis Hurst's father collected rocks. Nobody ever thought his obsession would amount to anything. They said, "You've got rocks in your head" and "There's no money in rocks." But year after year he kept on collecting, trading, displaying, and labeling his rocks. The Depression forced the family to sell their gas station and their house, but his interest in rocks never wavered. And in the end the science museum he had visited so often realized that a person with rocks in his head was just what was needed.

Anyone who has ever felt a little out of step with the world will identify with this true story of a man who followed his heart and his passion.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5-8. In this delightful picture book, Hurst recounts her father's interest in rock collecting, which began in childhood and lasted through his adult life--raising a family, running a filling station, and surviving hard times during the Depression. Eventually, Dad parlayed his interest and fascination into a new job and fulfilling career. Hurst's affectionate memoir in lively first person celebrates her father and the reward of doing what one loves. Stevenson's signature watercolor-and-ink artwork, spare and kinetic, expressively portrays Hurst's childhood memories, her father's experience, and the nostalgic detail of times past. Labeled drawings of various rock specimens are scattered throughout this charming, inspiring story about a man with "rocks in his head" who followed his dream. --Shelle Rosenfeld

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a starred review, PW wrote, "With great affection, Hurst recounts the story of her father, an avid rock collector from boyhood. The artwork evokes both the personality of this endearing protagonist and the period in which he lived." Ages 5-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-Hurst tells the story of her father's passion for rock collecting in this gently humorous picture book. "People said he had rocks in his pockets and rocks in his head. He didn't mind. It was usually true." As a boy, he collected rocks. When he grew up, his carefully labeled rock collection occupied a place of honor on the back wall of his filling station. However, once the Depression hit and the filling station closed, he had to look for work. When there was none to be found, he would go to the science museum, where he eventually attracted the attention of the director. A stint as the nighttime janitor, combined with his unquenchable love for rocks, eventually led to his being named Curator of Mineralogy, despite his lack of a college degree. The narrative has the polish of a family story often told, and the author paints a touching picture of a man who quietly pursues his passion, no matter what others think. Stevenson's watercolor-and-ink illustrations, with their trademark sketchy style, capture the mild-mannered hero perfectly. Rendered in a palette of soft sepia tones, these warm pictures call to mind an earlier era. Pair this book with Lynne Barasch's Radio Rescue (Farrar, 2000), a similar biographical tale set in days gone by.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, Eldersburg, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.