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From Pictures to Words - a guide to choosing books for beginner readers:
Science Fiction and Fantasy


A Gift from Winklesea by Helen Cresswell
Published by The Penguin Group, 1971
ISBN 0-14-030493-2
Illustrations © Hodder & Stoughton Ltd., 1969

There’s something different about the present that Dan and Mary find in the seaside gift shop for their mother. It is an egg-shaped, bluish-green stone which takes pride of place on the mantelpiece.

Only Mary noticed that the egg-shaped stone always felt warm to touch, almost as if it were going to hatch out. And then one day it did!

Even Dan, after refusing point blank to believe the stone was anything other than a stone, had to admit it had a strange, almost living warmth. Eventually the gift becomes one of the family, living in an aquarium in the kitchen, eating chips and drinking milk, and when the Kane family enter him in the church bazaar pet competition he earns more money than the vicar could ever have hoped for as people queue up to pay to see him.

Helen Cresswell evokes a strange and magical world in a story full of suspense which will encourage the young reader to read it right through to the end.

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