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Children's Fiction Humorous Stories

The Stone Hatchlings

by (author) Sarah Tsiang

illustrated by Qin Leng

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2012
Humorous Stories
Recommended Age
4 to 7
Recommended Grade
p to k
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2012
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2012
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


A child’s imagination takes flight.

When Abby finds two warm, round stones in the backyard, she “adopts” them, pretending they’re unhatched birds. She lovingly builds them a cozy nest and watches over them constantly until one day she imagines that with a crick and a crack, the stones hatch to reveal two gray chicks. With a flourish of her paintbrush, Abby colors the birds yellow, blue, and green, and proceeds to take excellent care of them.

Then the make-believe birds stop singing. Soon they also stop eating, and when they start to lose their feathers Abby realizes it is time to let them go. She waves goodbye as they fly off. But every morning, two new birds appear at the window and sing to Abby.

As in their bestselling book, A Flock of Shoes, this gifted author-illustrator team captures perfectly the whimsical imagination of a small child for whom anything is possible. 

About the authors

Sarah Tsiang is an award-winning poet as well as a children's book author. Her books with Annick Press include A Flock of Shoes, Dogs Don't Eat Jam and Other Things Big Kids Know, Warriors and Wailers: 100 Anicent Chinese Jobs You Might Have Relished or Reviled, and The Stone Hatchlings. She lives in Kingston, Ontario.

Sarah Tsiang's profile page

Qin Leng was born in Shanghai, China. At the age of five, she moved with her family to Bordeaux, France, where she spent the next four years. Soon after, she moved to Montreal, where she spent the rest of her childhood. Having been born in Asia but raised in the West, she uses both cultures as her source of inspiration. Looking at her illustrations, one can see the presence of both East and West.Qin Leng comes from a family of artists, where the visual senses have always been of the utmost importance. She grew up watching her father work with acrylics, pastel, and ink. Father and daughter often spent their days drawing side by side. Drawing first started as a hobby, but soon became a way of expression.Despite her many years of study to become a biologist, Qin decided at the age of 20 to follow the same path as her father and enrolled in the School of Cinema to study Film Animation at Concordia University. She has produced animated shorts, which were nominated in various nationa

Qin Leng's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“The story combines innocent imagination with the real life emotions of loss and joy.”—ABQLA (Quebec Library Association), 12/12

“… can encourage creativity, imagination, creative play, and finding joy in simple things ... Highly recommended!” —, 12/04/12

“This book will appeal to all four-to eight-year-old stone-loving children and will speak to the hearts of their parents.”—Canadian Children’s Book News, 11/12

“This is a simple yet profound story of a child and her vivid imagination.” —School Library Journal, 12/12

“When an author captures the magic of a child’s imagination as deftly as Sarah Tsiang has done ..., the result is absolute enchantment.”—, 10/12

“... readers of all ages will enjoy following Abby’s crazy antics and appreciate the humour and heart of this story.”—CM Reviews, 11/12

“Tsiang portrays the life cycle of imagination with a deft touch; Leng’s pictures capture both mirth and motion. Lovely.”—Kirkus Reviews, 08/12

“… a beautifully told story about the power of the imagination and the emotions of love, loss, and joy.”—Resource Links, 12/12

Librarian Reviews

The Stone Hatchlings

Young children’s fascination for stones has long been a governing aspect of life around our house. My husband and I have grown to respect this even if we don’t always understand it the way Sarah Tsiang and Qin Leng obviously do.

Their respect for the way Abby sees the “two heavy eggs” she has found is a significant part of what makes this book so valuable. It is obvious that Abby has to bring the eggs inside, make them a nest out of sweaters and sit on that nest until the little birds hatch. They are never described as imaginary and are only ever referred to as stones by those who may not share Abby’s understanding — certainly never by the narrator.

Neither is Abby’s perspective ever minimized by Leng’s illustrations. Instead, the light sketches in marker shed light on Abby’s wondrous reality as the stone hatchlings follow her around the house or sing on her windowsill.

Refreshingly, Abby’s whimsical view of the world doesn’t change over the course of the story. Instead, her growth occurs when she realizes that, of course, even stone hatchlings must be set free.

This book will appeal to all four- to eight-year-old stone-loving children and will speak to the hearts of their parents. As Abby’s mother and father watched her sit on her nest during dinner, I’m so glad we’ve been known to go back home and get that special stone that just had to join us up at the cottage.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2012. Volume 35 No. 4.

Other titles by Sarah Tsiang

Other titles by Qin Leng