Spark the Stone Man by Asya Pekurovskaya, illustrated by Olga Titova
February 10, 2011
Ages Young Adult
Fiction Picture Book Fantasy Fairy Tale
I was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. You can call me a person who writes incessantly. You can also blame me for not writing lucidly. But let me tell you: writing is a tricky matter. As soon as a thought finds its way to paper, it starts making its demands on the author. It wants to be written in a number of different ways. As a result, it becomes ornamental. That ornamental property however, serves not to embellish a thought, but, rather, to resist its manifest lucidity. For a thought that we take to be clear, in fact veils a sweep of hidden meanings. And the more curious a reader's mind is, the more it resists this apparent crispness of a clear thought. Besides, it is ornamental features that make author's style vibrant and readers' minds engaged.
Reviewer: Renee Hand
Spark the Stoneman-Book 1 is an intriguing fairy tale that will delight children of all ages.
Lemon Drop Valley was a place of tranquility squeezed between a mountain range on the east and the gently sloping seaside to the west. The mountain was known as Granite Mountain. But it didn’t appear as an ordinary mountain, but more like a palace. It was where Spark, the stone man of the stonemasons’ tribe, began.
Spark was an interesting stonemason who often dreamt of visiting Lemon Drop Valley, but according to the law of the stonemasons, even the desire to set foot beyond the cold stone of Granite Mountain was an act of treason. Even so, he still desired it.
It just so happened that Spark had fallen asleep by the icy palace of His Majesty the King. That sort of thing was usually punished, but instead of punishment he was rewarded with information. It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. The King was old and needed to step down, but how to do it? Well, the Chief Vizier decided that he would change places with the King pretending to be his double. The King, at first, was reluctant to give up his crown, but then he gave in to the vizier’s cunning words, treating him as if he were the King instead of him. The job was almost completed; all that was left was the handing over of the Royal Scepter, which was very close to the King’s heart. It was a long rod made of 18 carat gold, with a bloomed flower on top, its petals were made of special stones like sapphires, diamonds and pearls.
With the handing over of the scepter also meant the revealing of a secret only known by the King. There was a path to Lemon Drop Valley, a path that no one knew about. Spark was intrigued to say the least because he desired to leave the mountain, but the vizier began to worry that all the stonemasons would leave the mountain, but there was another secret. The Coveted Path that led the way to the valley was magnetized prevented the stonemasons, who wore iron shoes on their feet, from leaving. But there was a powerful wizard who knew how to demagnetize the path. The vizier makes an oath to the King to find the wizard and lay the King’s worries to rest.
Spark makes a vow to find the wizard first. When he does, and he enters into the world of Lemon Drop Valley, will it be what he expects? Will his view upon the world change?
This is a creative 72 page story filled with danger, mystery, and fantasy elements young adults will enjoy. The beautiful illustrations bring the text to life, making the world of the stonemasons and Lemon Drop Valley real in the mind of the reader. There are many unanswered questions the readers will enjoy discovering and as they do they will also learn more about the characters and watch them change as they discover their strengths and talents along the journey. For the first time in his life, Spark changes into the stonemason he was supposed to be, carrying with him a secret of hope and love.Reviewer Renee Hand is the award-winning author of The Crypto-Capers Series for children. Look for her new release in the series, Book #5 The Peacock Diaries.