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Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Caterpillar and the Stone by Erec Stebbins: I love this book!!! Read it!

What an unusual book. Billed as a fairy's tale and a love storybook for not-quite grown-ups, I wasn't sure what to expect. Never did I expect to fall so completely in love with this little book.

It looks like a children's book, almost.
It reads like a children's book, almost.
But it is an ageless story of love and loss, of opposites attracting, of cultural differences, of lifestyle choices, and of simply growing apart. It helps us see that while life may not always be fair, we can survive.

Caterpillar and Stone love each other. Both of their cultures are aghast. "It won't work," they both hear from family and friends. It does work, for a time. Then his need to do the work he was meant to do and her inborn need to change pulls them apart. She no longer needs his security and his warmth for she learns to spread her wings and fly to freedom. He cannot, for he is after all, only a stone.

The book is written and illustrated as if it were a children's book. At least, that is what one thinks at first glance. Then one will notice that the illustrations are not light and happy, not the type that pleases most young readers. They seem to be photographs taken mostly at or near the ground, caterpillar and stone's points of view. They look to be manipulated with a wonderful photo editor.

Upon reading the book one will see that the language is full of imagery and beautiful phrases, beyond those found in most children's books. Also, one will see the beautiful script or calligraphy in which the book is written...definitely not the easy font of children's books.

The author is first and foremost, a scientist with a degree in physics from Oberlin College and a PhD in biochemistry from Cornell. Today he is a scientist and professor in biomedical research studying the atomic structures of bacterial toxins that cause disease...Whee, no wonder his mind sometimes must wander into the fantasy fairly tale world.

There is only one thing I can say about this book....I loved it. Absolutely. Thank you Erec.

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