Matt R. Rocks: A Story That Matters
by Patricia Youngs
Trafford Publishing

"He ordered them back on Leader ship with each solid rock matched up with a cracked rock. They battled a fierce storm that lasted more than a week."

From the days when the ancient Sumerians chiseled out The Epic of Gilgamesh in cuneiform, to modern times when writers and animators at Pixar or Dreamworks put the final touches on their latest blockbuster, people have searched for inventive and entertaining ways to teach social mores and viewpoints to others, especially the young. In keeping with this time-honored tradition, the author has crafted a book designed to teach the importance of working together while also subtly introducing little children to the rather heavy concepts associated with particle physics.

Matt R. is a rock on an anchored boat that longs to learn how to swim. Yet every time he hurls himself overboard he sinks to the bottom. Then one day Captain Higgs (a reference to the Higgs boson of particle physics) takes Matt and the other members of the rock crew on a voyage. After a series of adventures marked mainly by confusion from the crew over what their mysterious captain is up to, the crew encounters some older rocks that have become cracked from throwing themselves on land and have sprouted trees. Some of the crew, like Matt, decide they want to become cracked, too, and hurl themselves ashore. Eventually, the captain sails both the solid and cracked rocks to a special location he has for them to form a new island. Matt jumps in first and discovers with his new tree arms he can now swim.

Since children will understandably struggle with many of the loftier ideas behind the tale, the author has provided some helpful guidance for parents at the end. But even if read without a parent's involvement, Youngs' story combined with Kenn Yapsangco's simple yet charming illustrations should keep kids turning the pages.

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