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Book cover of I'm Trying to Love Rocks

I'm Trying to Love Rocks

By Bethany Barton. Viking, 2020. 40 pages, $23.75.
Diana Murrell

If you are looking for an entertaining and informative picture book to teach the Grade 4 Rocks and Minerals Science Unit, then I’m Trying to Love Rocks is the book for you. The latest addition to the I’m Trying to… series by Bethany Barton follows a similar format to the previous titles with a narrator who thinks rocks are boring and a book character who convinces the narrator (and the reader) that rocks are actually fascinating.

The colourful illustrations and humorous text are very entertaining, making this book a crowd pleaser as a read-aloud for junior students. The narrator and book character have quick-paced dialogue throughout the book. The book character, who is the president of her school’s rock club, has quick witty comebacks for every question and doubt the narrator presents. The book reads like a script, complete with speech bubbles and colourful text that looks hand printed.

Kids will be entertained by the book but will also learn a lot. With information about geology, the rock cycle, sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks, minerals and gemstones carefully woven throughout the picture book, Bethany Barton introduces students to a number of the science expectations with specific vocabulary and great diagrams. Humour is infused into the illustrations with funny name tags on the rocks and a very expressive book character. The conversational tone and highly visual presentation of information would be very accessible for the class, including ELL and Special Education students.

This book would be an excellent provocation for the beginning of the science unit. A reference to geologists and the importance of scientists asking questions is a great entry point for student inquiry. Extra features such as the cleverly designed front and back inside covers as well as the interactive suggestions to poke and squeeze the illustrations will bring students back for a second look.

I’m Trying to Love Rocks would be an excellent addition to any school or classroom library. Bethany Barton combines humour and facts for a very entertaining read.

Diana Murrell is a member of the Peel Teacher Local.