The Rock from the Sky

by Jon Klassen (Author) Jon Klassen (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Look up! From the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of the Hat Trilogy comes a new deadpan gem.

There is a spot. It is a good spot.

It is the perfect spot to stand.

There is no reason to ever leave.

But somewhere above there is also a rock.

A rock from the sky.

Here comes The Rock from the Sky, a hilarious meditation on the workings of friendship, fate, shared futuristic visions, and that funny feeling you get that there's something off somewhere, but you just can't put your finger on it. Merging broad visual suspense with wry wit, celebrated picture book creator Jon Klassen gives us a wholly original comedy for the ages.

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Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

The most gratifying feature of this new offering by Caldecott Medalist Klassen is that there's so much of it--96 pages of dark, Beckett-caliber comedy. In the first episode of five, "The Rock," a tortoise in a bowler hat stands under a broad dusky sky. "I like standing in this spot. It is my favorite spot to stand," it declares; "I don't ever want to stand anywhere else." A page turn reveals a massive black rock high in the sky, a delicate trail of detritus above it signaling downward motion. Back on the ground, a sort of armadillo-mole sporting a bowler hat of its own appears. "What do you think of my spot?" the tortoise asks. "Actually I have a bad feeling about it," the armadillo-mole replies, initiating a back-and-forth with escalating stakes. And the rock isn't the only fate that looms. In each section, the tortoise, the armadillo-mole, and a snake in a beret consider everyday matters--naps, sunsets, the future--while facing inexorably advancing events. A resultant ratcheting tension permeates every moody spread and gives readers' laughter a nervous edge, while deliberately paced illustrations and deadpan conversation allow for a methodical exploration of each comic beat. In this pleasurable volume that's just right for uncertain times, Klassen proves himself a top-notch student of the way that conscious beings seek to take charge of their own realities--efforts that nearly always fail and, in this world, are sometimes punctuated by falling rocks. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Apr.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 2—Klassen at his droll best, in five short chapters that are outstanding examples of pacing, less-is-more illustration, and comedic timing. Unaware of impending doom from above, Turtle enjoys standing in his favorite spot. His friend Armadillo thinks he has a better spot. Disaster is avoided, but the interplay of text and images as a giant rock falls from the sky will have readers and listeners howling with delight. The subsequent chapters capture other moments in the life of Turtle, Armadillo, Snake, and of course—Alien. Wacky, witty fun, this could be used to introduce a unit on humor, all done in classic Klassen digital and watercolor tones and shapes. Also outstanding for emerging readers with visual support for the minimal text. VERDICT Laugh-out-loud funny; children will be predicting, warning, and laughing their way through any reading and multiple rereadings of this tour de force from a master of the picture book form.—John Scott, Friends Sch. of Baltimore

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"His ability to create so much dark humor with so few words and to infuse his critters with such a depth of personality is part of why Klassen's work is so beloved, as this new addition promises to be."
—Booklist Online (starred review)

"In this collection of five connected short stories, clocking in at over ninety pages and composed solely of dialogue, Klassen introduces readers to a turtle, an armadillo, and a snake—all in hats, of course. . .Throughout, Klassen's characteristically deadpan humor refuses to patronize readers; he lets them in on the joke, as always, putting them one step ahead of the protagonists. Smart, funny, and offbeat, this is quintessential Klassen."
—The Horn Book (starred review) 

"The sly humor and touch of sci-fi will make this a winner for reluctant later-stage readers as well as beginning readers developing their stamina, and it'll be a great conspiratorial co-read with adults or sibs."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)

Jon Klassen
Jon Klassen is the creator of the #1 New York Times best-selling I Want My Hat Back, which won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor, and its companions: This Is Not My Hat, which won a Caldecott Medal and a Kate Greenaway Medal, and We Found a Hat, named a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year. He is also the author-illustrator of The Rock from the Sky and the illustrator of Extra Yarn, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, Triangle, Square, and Circle, all by Mac Barnett; House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser; the Skunk and Badger series by Amy Timberlake; and the middle-grade Pax series by Sara Pennypacker. Originally from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Jon Klassen now lives in Los Angeles.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
April 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002000 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | General
JUV053020 - Juvenile Fiction | Science Fiction | Space Exploration
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Fate and fatalism
Animal fiction

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