August 1999

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble review

By William Steig
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It's hard to believe that 30 years have passed since Sylvester held his magic pebble and turned himself into a rock. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, published in 1969, won the Caldecott Medal in 1970 and remains a favorite of children and adults. Author/illustrator William Steig, who has been in children's book publishing for roughly 35 years, shows no signs of stopping. Steig has published over 30 children's books, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble selling 500,000 copies alone. In fact, just last year Steig and his wife Jeanne worked together on A Handful of Beans, which was recognized by the New York Times as Best Illustrated Book.

Sylvester's humorous illustrations of fully dressed farm animals conducting daily business upright are set against the simple and endearing text. Simon &and Schuster has issued special anniversary editions of Sylvester with a 30th Anniversary bellyband on the hardcover and 30th Anniversary burst on the paperback. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was recognized by the California Teachers' Association as one of the 100 Best Books of the Century. The good news is that Sylvester will continue to delight young readers for centuries to come.

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