I was first introduced to the author William Steig with Dr. Desoto books (which I’ll probably rave about at some point I’m sure). I like his wit and humor and his sneaky way of teaching valuable lessons. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble is just such a book.
Sylvester the donkey finds a magic pebble that grants his wishes. On the way to tell his parents about his find, he encounters a lion and, frightened and flustered by the encounter, quickly wishes that he were a rock. Only once he became a rock, he realized there was no way to pick up the pebble and wish to be himself again. His mom and dad miss him terribly, and no one can figure out what happened to him. When spring comes around once more, his parents decide to go on a picnic in an attempt to cheer up, but even on the picnic, all they can think about is poor Sylvester—how much he would have liked the picnic, how much he would have liked a particular pebble. His mom sets the pebble on top of the rock they are using for a picnic table. Sylvester, unaware that the pebble is his magic pebble, wishes (as he has many times before) to be himself. Only this time, his wish is granted! As the family joyfully hugs and listens to Sylvester’s tale of his magic pebble, they all realize there is absolutely nothing more they could wish for.
It’s a lesson I am continually working on with my children: to be happy with what they have, to not continually wish for what they do not have.
What books have you used to reinforce your character lessons?