Author: Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Publication Date: July 12, 2016
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Number of Pages: 66
Stone Faces is the story of a ten-year-old girl named Alice who notices one day that her parents’ faces have turned to stone. Soon afterward, they tell her they are going to get divorced and, in reaction, she allows her own face to turn to stone because she doesn’t want anyone to know how much this hurts her. It is easier to deal with her friends when her stone face is in place, but she also begins to find herself alone more and more. While on her summer vacation at her aunt’s house on Cape Cod, she sees a stone on the beach in the shape of a laughing man’s face (called Mr. Happy Man). She soon discovers that this stone can talk and that it has friends among the other beach stones, who play games in the sand when people aren’t around. Together with Mr. Happy Man and his friends, Alice develops an ingenious scheme to help her parents resolve their differences. Their plans are thrown awry when a woman finds Mr. Happy Man in the sand and walks off with him. Alice decides to rescue the stone and sneaks into the woman’s house where she learns that the woman is actually a witch.
Read an Excerpt
The trouble actually started way before the summer. In fact, it was early spring when my parents and I took that long walk in Central Park. We all should have been in a really great mood because (finally!) the sun was out and it was nice and warm. But I remember glancing over at my mom and dad again and again as we walked, thinking that both of their faces had changed. It’s tough to describe. Their features had gotten sort of hard. They looked a lot like the carved stone faces on some of the buildings in our neighborhood.
Anyway, I pretended that nothing was wrong and forgot about it until it was time to start planning our summer vacation.
Here’s the thing—I love going to the seashore more than almost anything in the whole world. Every summer for as long as I can remember, my mom and my dad packed up our car with all our beach stuff (and snacks for the long ride). Then, we drove the five and a half hours from New York City to visit my aunt in a place called Provincetown on the very tip of Cape Cod.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love New York City. My mom and I can take the bus to my dance classes, and a subway to where I belong to a kids’ theater group on Saturdays. We can walk to my school, to the field house where my soccer team plays, and to the gym where my dad and I shoot hoops. So, yeah, I love New York City.
There’s just one problem. Until I’m older, I pretty much have to stay glued to an adult’s side whenever I leave our apartment. When I’m twelve, my mom says I can take the bus by myself to certain places. When I’m thirteen, I’ll be able to go on the subway. Depending.
Depending on what, you might ask. Just depending my mom says back. Gag! I hate the word depending. Anyway, here’s the point—in Provincetown I’m free. I can take walks by myself all over town. The only catch is that I have to stay within a block of Commercial Street, which is like the Broadway of Provincetown. It is usually so crowded that people can’t even fit on the sidewalks and so they walk in the street. It’s like a big pedestrian mall.
And best of all, I can go out to the bay beach by myself and swim, so long as there’s a lifeguard on duty. I love to be tossed by the waves and paddle through the swells in the deep water. I love to make sand castles and look for shells and stones and beach glass and driftwood. The beach is pretty much my idea of paradise.
So, maybe you can understand why I was really upset in early June when my mom and dad sat me down in our living room late one afternoon for a talk. It was getting dark outside. Thunderstorms were predicted, and the sky was almost black. I sat on the sofa by myself. They were each in their own chair across from me, and they were each trying to smile. But it was no use with those stone faces of theirs. I was so nervous I almost couldn’t hear what my mother was saying.
When Anne Rothman was a student at Bryn Mawr College and Kenneth Hicks was a student at Haverford College, they began writing together in an independent-study course with one of Ken’s professors. A brief interlude ensued while Anne wrote wonderful poetry and Ken wrote a book about hitchhiking (The Complete Hitchhiker Tobey Publishing, Dell Distribution), but they soon got back together as writers when Ken was in law school at Columbia University and Anne was paying the rent by working in publishing. They have continued to write together for about forty years and in that time have published four adult novels, eleven non-fiction books for children, two fiction books for middle readers, and two photography books. They also produced three children whom they love even more than writing.
Between projects, they started a web site www.randh71productions.com. In case you were wondering about the address, “ R” is for Rothman, “ H” is for Hicks, and “ 71” is the year of their marriage. No secret codes or numerology anywhere.
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