Jenny McCartney is a successful journalist based in the UK whose work often features in national newspapers. The Stone Bird is her debut picture book. Patrick Benson was born in 1956 and educated at Eton, in Florence, and at Chelsea Art School. Patrick has illustrated some of the greatest authors of children's books including Roald Dahl. Patrick lives and works on his farm in Scotland.
"When young Eliza finds a stone on the beach, she knows that it is not really a stone, but an egg. And one night it hatches and becomes a stone bird. Over time, as seasons change, the girl nurtures the stone bird and takes it everywhere. One day another small stone pebble, or egg, appears, and soon there are two stone birds under Eliza's care. She builds a nest and continues to cherish her pets despite her mother's insistence that they are simply stones. As time goes on, the birds are never far from Eliza's mind. One day they disappear, leaving Eliza to wonder if they have flown away. Saddened and confused by the loss of her birds, the child is surprised to find a gift from her avian friends on her birthday: a soft gray feather on her windowsill, leaving Eliza with hope for the future. This is a wonderful story that explores the magic and possibility inherent in a child's imagination. Benson's classic watercolor illustrations pair perfectly with McCartney's sweet, simple text and together relay the book's message: 'If she believes and loves, magic is possible.' VERDICT A sweet and tender reminder to treasure the power of imagination."--School Library Journal--Journal
"A little girl on the beach picks up an egg-shaped gray stone and imagines it will hatch into a bird. Despite her mother's insistence that the stone is too hard and heavy to be an egg, the dark-haired, pale-skinned girl, Eliza, sleeps with it under her pillow, treasuring its cool, smooth surface. One hot evening the stone feels very warm, so Eliza places it on her night table before falling asleep--waking to find the egg transformed into the shape of a bird. As the seasons change from summer to fall to winter, Eliza discovers a new gray pebble next to her stone bird and places them in a nest she fashions from a pair of socks. By springtime, two stone birds appear in her sock nest, a chick next to her mama bird. Warmer weather requires an open window, and one night Eliza dreams of beating wings and awakens to find her sock nest empty. Could the birds have come to life and flown away? Illustrations that look to be made from pen and ink with watercolors evoke summery seashore scenes and frosty winter evenings as the child's playtime reveries become, for her, real. Sad at the loss of her stone birds, she finds that her birthday morning brings two doves near her bedroom window and the gift of a soft gray feather. Never underestimate a preschooler's resourceful thinking."--Kirkus Reviews--Journal