Rhoda's Rock Hunt

by Molly Beth Griffin (Author) Jennifer A Bell (Illustrator)

Rhoda's Rock Hunt
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
Rhoda is on a long, long hike with her aunt and uncle, each of them carrying backpacks of gear as they walk through the north woods. While Auntie June and Uncle Jonah watch for wildlife and set up their campsites, Rhoda is on the hunt for one thing: ROCKS.

She finds them in all shapes and patterns, from hearts and hats to stripes and sparkles. And every last treasure goes into her pack, making it heavier and heavier as they hike through forests and along streams. Soon Rhoda is sweaty, and tired of salami sandwiches, and wishing for her own bed. Then, on the last day, they come to the Big Lake. And its beach is covered in rocks. Rhoda can't believe her luck.

After hours of play and even more rock discoveries, it's time to head for home. By now Rhoda's pack is too heavy to lift. Will she give up her rocks and return to the cabin for a real shower, a hot meal, and a soft bed? Or will she stay on the beach forever with her beloved collection? Her clever solution makes the most of her treasures--and offers delights for other hikers.

Kirkus Reviews

When Rhoda goes hiking with Auntie June and Uncle Jonah, it’s not a little day hike.

It’s a haul-your-own-stuff and pitch-a-tent-in-a-new-place-each-night excursion, calling on Rhoda to reach deep into her reserve of gumption. Luckily, she really loves looking for rocks along the way. Her aunt smiles at the rock collecting, as long as Rhoda carries them in her own backpack. Rhoda likes the bucket shower in the cold lake, the salami sandwiches and old ratty sleeping bag, but as the hike continues—and her bag gets heavier with all those special rocks—Rhoda’s laugh disappears, and a decidedly grumpy girl emerges. But when she finally reaches her beach destination, Rhoda’s energy and enthusiasm return, especially when she thinks about the comforts of a cabin and the gorgeous beach rocks. But after some serious beachcombing, Rhoda cannot begin to move the heavy load of rocks. Young nature lovers and hikers will celebrate Rhoda’s creative solution. Droll, green-toned illustrations highlight Rhoda’s every emotion. She’s about 8, and readers see her body droop, eyebrows rise in frustration and even her socks fall, while her hair flies all over the place. Repetition and careful word choice (easy to decode and familiar) make this a picture book to share or read independently.

Rock collectors will smile at her cairns and will be better able to leave behind beloved rocks. (Picture book. 4-8)

Publishers Weekly

In a quietly perceptive story, when gawky Rhoda joins her outdoorsy Auntie Jane and Uncle Jonah (and a delighted dog) on a camping trip, the trail gets rocky in more ways than one. But for a rock-lover like Rhoda, this is generally a good thing: "Rhoda found jagged rocks and bumpy rocks in that forest and one with tiny sparkly bits that glinted in the dappled sunlight." Bell (When a Grandpa Says "I Love You") gives her cast simple, expressive features, while mint and emerald greens combine with earthy brown hatch marks to create a tranquil landscape. Although Rhoda is "tired and dirty and hungry on the last day of the trip," the Big Lake offers exciting treasures to add to her collection, until her pack is too heavy to move. Rhoda attempts to redistribute the wealth into her pockets (they sag comically), but realizes that most of the rocks must stay behind. The resolution that she arrives at independently (building cairns) speaks to the importance of memories over materials, a message Griffin delivers with a light touch. Ages 3-7. Illustrator's agency: Shannon Associates. (Oct.)

Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1--When Rhoda goes with Auntie June, Uncle Jonah, and their perky little dog on a "long, long hike from their up-north cabin," her aunt is interested in photographing birds; her uncle in camping; and the dog in adventure and exploring. But Rhoda is a rock hunter. Everywhere they go, she finds rocks--near the lake, on the forest path, in a rushing stream, and, especially, on the beach beside the Big Lake. Rhoda picks up smooth, striped, and sparkly rocks; colored rocks and plain rocks; rocks that fit perfectly into her hand, and others with all sorts of shapes. Finally, with her small backpack so loaded she cannot lift it, the child must decide what to do with her multitude of treasures. Bell's cartoon illustrations bring this simple story to life. Scenes of woods, lakes, beaches, and boulder-edged stream offer a somewhat inviting glimpse of hiking and camping with a charming freckle-faced little girl who loses herself in the part of nature she likes best.--Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH

Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
October 20, 2014
Northeastern Minnesota Book Award
Winner 2014 - 2014
Midwest Booksellers' Choice Award
Finalist 2015 - 2015

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!