As we hang on to the last vestiges of summer, spend some time on a beach. Enjoy sunshine, rolling waves, bare feet on sand, sea air and wonderful beach finds—seashells, driftwood, dried egg casings, and pebbles, lots and lots of pebbles.
When I was a child, my family spent two weeks of the summer sailing from harbor to harbor on the coast of New England. There were six of us on a thirty-two and a half foot boat. Such fun! During those two weeks, we spent our days sailing, swimming, and exploring. During our explorations we found many treasures, and often the treasures were rock, stones, and pebbles. We would return to the boat with buckets, nets, pockets, and hands full of them. My father made a rule that still stands today: “No rocks on the boat.” But to be honest, we always sneak a few aboard. My collection includes smooth rocks, white rocks, a black rock with a single white vein through it and many more special rocks that caught my eye. In my garden I have a piece of granite from Buckle Island, Maine, and a rock known to all as the “piece of pizza” rock.
When I happened upon Leo Lionni’s book On My Beach There are Many Pebbles, I was excited by the drawings and ideas held within the covers. This artful book inspires the reader to see more, to see beyond the initial view, to patterns, shapes, shades, and connections. The gray scale pencil drawings are fanciful and mesmerizing. Each sketch begs to be studied closely and often. In the book, Lionni reveals “fishpebbles, goosepebbles, numberpebbles, letterpebbles, peoplepebbles” and more. With his drawings and words, Lionni challenges us to use our eyes and our imaginations to see the world and all its possibilities. Accept the challenge!