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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Little Pearl's Reflection: The Secret of the Smiling Rocks is an adventure story for children written by Sarah Ann Kinnear and illustrated by Bodil Sebrina Christensen. Little Pearl was enjoying looking at the scenery along the Old Winding River, when her friend, In-Out, the blue bunny with red glasses, cautioned her to be quiet. He then whispered that “they” were sleeping. Pearl asked him who they were, and he explained that the rocks were sleeping. Little Pearl marveled at such an idea. Whoever thought that rocks could sleep -- they weren’t really alive or anything, were they?
Little Pearl had realized by now that the world was quite more complicated than she had ever realized. She still hadn’t found her mother, who had inexplicably disappeared. Since she began searching for her, Little Pearl had made friends with In-Out, the talking red bird named Rusty, and Olivia, a brilliant yellow and orange fish. She had also met Miss Sophie, a kind woman who had given her flower seeds. So, she wasn’t really all that surprised when she noticed that the rocks by the river were actually all smiling, and indeed one small rock began to speak to her in a tiny voice while looking at her with its shiny black eyes. What he had to say gave Pearl even more clues to seek answers. The author provides discussion questions at the end of the book as well as a secret puzzle piece that can help readers discern the Pearl of Wisdom for the series.
Little Pearl's Reflection continues Little Pearl’s search for her missing mom and introduces the friends she meets along the way. This allegorical story teaches kids about happiness and how to live in the present. Olivia the fish is happy when she dreams of flying. In-Out gives tantalizing clues about The Secret and leaves readers wondering just what it could be. I loved following along with Little Pearl and her friends as they explore the island. Kinnear’s characters are distinct and credible and seeing how they interact with each other and care for Little Pearl is both fascinating and heartwarming. Bodil Sebrina Christensen’s illustrations are enchanting and irresistible. I love watercolors and her pictures of the Old Winding River, Miss Sophie’s cottage and those marvelous smiling rocks are a joy to behold. Kinnear’s story is a grand selection for story time, but it’s also a suitable primer for young readers to try on their own. Little Pearl's Reflection: The Secret of the Smiling Rocks is most highly recommended.