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Lights on Wonder Rock

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  380 ratings  ·  87 reviews
E.T. meets The Giving Tree in this stunningly illustrated picture book about friendship, family, wonder, and magic that shows how, sometimes, the things we’re searching for have been right in front of us all along. From the award-winning creator of The Bear and the Piano. 

Heather wants more than anything to go to outer space, where the stars sparkle with magic and wonder.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 8th 2020 by Clarion Books (first published September 2019)
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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  380 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Can I give a book ten stars? No, okay, five will have to suffice. Right off the bat, the illustrations are gorgeous. The on and off of the flashlight was beautiful and when the space ship first comes down and illuminates the page, I have no words. I am definitely a sucker for illustrations. But not to fret, the story is just as good. There were a couple of times I got worried about where the story was headed especially as the young girl started to age, but the ending was wonderful.
Liberty K
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So stunning as a story and visually too.
The latest picturebook from David Litchfield tells the story of Heather, a lonely little girl who befriends an alien at the feet of Cotton Rock. The encounter, although all too brief, remains with her throughout her life and she pines for one more before her life ends. An encounter that may see her depart the planet…but is Heather really happy to leave everything she has behind?

There is always an allure to the possibilities of space; to imagine that what lies beyond our grasp, our imagining and
OMG, I read this one in Dutch but will write my short review in English. This was an absolutely stunning book not just in illustrations but also in story. About a girl who wants nothing then to be with the stars. She has a special rock in the forests just outside of her house that she keeps visiting. She reads a lot about ufos and aliens and she loves drawing. One day she gets her wish but has to go back for a reason (but not after a really fun time with her new friend). We see her, and this bro ...more
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Heather has read all kinds of information about outer space and aliens. She longs to leave earth and head into the stars. So out in the woods, she picks a large rock, sits on it and shines her flashlight into the night sky, turning it on and off. She waits in the quiet darkness, until suddenly dazzling light surrounds her. A flying saucer in rainbow lights lands nearby and a friendly alien invites her on board. But when she hears her parents searching for her, Heather leaves the spaceship and re ...more
Nell Elizabeth
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love everything about this book--the story, the illustrations, the mood. I love all of David Litchfield's books! ...more
Josie Hornby
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Abby Johnson
When Heather is visited by an alien in the woods near her house, she treasures the experience and waits for her alien friend to return. As years pass and Heather grows into an old lady, she never gives up hope that her alien will return, visiting Wonder Rock to signal with her flashlight every now and then. When he finally does, inviting her into his ship to sail through the stars, she happily accepts the invitation, but then realizes that she can't leave her family on Earth. With gorgeous, whim ...more
Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
Inspired by blockbusting science fiction from another age, this is an at-times bittersweet story that ultimately reminds us what's important in life. The illustrations positively glow with the feeling of wondering what's out (or up) there. Beautiful book. ...more
Arijit Ganguly
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I attended a live story telling session by David himself at Ilford library where he read the book to many kids today. Such nice illustrations he has made. Very interesting story about alien and UFO. Kids will definitely love this book. My daughter loved it so much. Highly recommended.
Nov 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"I picked this up because of this (a) Booklist review -- and it's true! - Booklist Reviews 2020 July #1" - Rebecca, Collection Development

Reserve a library copy.
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book! The illustrations and the story are beautiful!
Maria Carmo
The enchanting story of an "out of this world" friendship, followed by the discovery of what REALLY matters!

Maria Carmo,

Lisbon, 4 December 2020.
Sep 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an absolutely fabulous book by one of my favourite author/illustrators.

'Lights On Cotton Rock' may be classed as a 'children's book' but the themes of loneliness, wanting to escape the world and ultimately discovering what you wanted and needed was 'here on earth all along'- really resonated long after reading.

Not to mention the really incredible illustrations throughout which on occassion left me absolutely gobsmacked.

I am happy to say that my 6 year old daughter felt exactly the same a
Emma Kearney
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
SBC summer text.
This story is so beautifully illustrated and provides a familiar setting (the forest and the home) for children in KS1. The best thing about this book are the wordless images that allow for discussion and expression and make up a good part of the story (although it also works without delving too deep). A heartwarming story about how important family is and a lovely topic for PSHE.
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
4+ Just a little dissatisfied with the very end that kept it from being a solid 5.

The illustrations are gorgeous, first and foremost. I loved the play with the flashlight, the softness of the nighttime forest, the colors of the spaceship. If for no other reason, read this for the pictures. Saw one review here talking about how the text actually detracted from the story, and I can see that. This could have been a great wordless picture book too - the illustrations carry that much of the story.

I picked this up because of this Booklist review -- and it's true!

Booklist Reviews 2020 July #1
*Starred Review* More than anything else in the world, little Heather wants an alien to come take her away so she can live among the stars, so she sits on Wonder Rock, flashing the beam of her flashlight on and off into the night sky. One night, she gets her wish, but her parents miss her, so she returns to Earth, and time passes, as time does. As she grows up and has children and grandchildren of her
The vibrant artwork on the cover entices the reader to open the book and read this magical story about Heather. Heather walks away from home one night to sit in the middle of the forest on a rock she calls Wonder Rock. She hopes what she has read about aliens coming down to earth to take people away will happen to her to make it possible for her to live among the stars.
Mr Litchfield colorful illustration set against the darker hues of the forest creates a stark contrast and captures the magic of
This book was dreamy. As a young girl. she had dreams of going into outer space, so she sat on Wonder Rock with her flashlight, staring into the dark sky. If only, the aliens would see her flashlight and take her back to their home. Off and On. Off and On. Off and On, she clicked her flashlight. Then, it happened! A bright light lit up the sky and Heather face beamed. The alien was friendly and Heather was so happy! Yet, while inside the alien's spaceship, Heather discovered that perhaps living ...more
Ben Hagan
Heather is a girl who loves outer space. One night, she runs away from home and into the forest to Cotton Rock. Whilst there, she looks up at the sky, dreaming of the stars and flashing her torch up into the sky when a spaceship lands in front of her eyes. An alien appears out of the spaceship whom she befriends; they trade pictures and then the alien leaves just as Heather's parents arrive. As she ages, Heather goes back to Cotton Rock and flashes the torch up at the sky in hope that the alien ...more
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Lights on Cotton Rock is a story about a little girl who runs away and finds herself befriending an alien. When she realises that her family are looking for her and sees how much they miss her she decides to go home, leaving behind her new friend. As Heather grows up she revisits the same rock where she first met her alien friend, but has no luck. As an old lady, Heather visits Cotton Rock one last time in hope of seeing her friend again.

I love how there are pages with only pictures that show th
Alicia Thompson
Oct 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a good premise made quite enjoyable by the fabulous illustrations. It's the story of a girl who runs into the woods and sits on a rock. A spaceship lands and she makes friends with an alien, but then comes back into reality.

Multiple times in her life she goes to escape again to the same rock, even as an old woman. It was a good message on the need for solitude at time in one's life and the power of imagination. But the final message is that while we may need to escape for a time from o
B For Butterfly Books
Having grown up with the likes of ET and Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind I was immediately drawn to Lights on Cotton Rock. The story follows Heather through various stages of her life as she continues her search for the alien she met at Cotton Rock when she was just a young girl.

Beautifully illustrated with a powerful message about hope and belonging, Lights on Cotton Rock is the perfect nostalgia trip for a 40-something year old mum and a great introduction to the sci-fi genre for youngsters.
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a beautifully illustrated and written picturebook. What I particularly liked about this book is the use of lots of wordless double-page spreads. The double-page spreads allow the reader to use their own imagination to interpret the story how they want which can then lead to in-depth discussions. Within this story I also felt that it is a great book to use with the children while they are learning about space and also with PSHE as it explores the friendships that Heather has which co ...more
This has beautiful, ambient illustrations with a skilled use of color and light. Words every few pages add narration, but I think this is one of those books that would benefit by being wordless. The text distracts from the mysteriousness of alien contact and seems to cheapen the message. The illustrations are strong enough to tell the story by themselves.

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Clarion Books for an eARC.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Heather has an extraterrestrial encounter on Wonder Rock, making a new blue friend. After that life-changing night, she returns to her rock and waits for their return, hoping to sail the celestial seas. Years go by and not a blink in the sky, until one night... and this time, she tells them all about her family and friends on Earth. Not many words are needed in this book, the illustrations do it all. This beautiful book is nothing short of gorgeous, filling my heart with joy and sweetness.
Molly Cluff (Library!)
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
That was darling and colorful and magical. A little girl sits on a rock in the woods and has an alien encounter (and the illustration on that page spread is simply dazzling). The alien is so friendly and adorable. The little girl waits her whole life for her alien friend to return, and wonders if she imagined it, but they finally return when she is an old woman. All the sweet hopefulness just made me half-want to cry the whole time.
A lovely story of a young girl who meets an alien in the woods one day. She then goes back to the rock often throughout her life until she is an adult and meets the alien again. This makes her realise that what she was wishing for all the time was closer than she first thought. Great use of framing to tell the story once when she is little and repeated again when she’s older to see the comparison. A nice read aloud story which could be developed further for planning a unit of work.
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The art in this is gorgeous. I would hang it on my walls. It's so atmospheric and vibrant! The author utilizes a story-board type layout in places to visually complete sections of the story and it's so effective. I love that we see a female character interested in science and space. We also see her grow old searching for magic and wonder. Read at the library, but 10/10 would buy this book for my own collection! ...more
Stephen Connor
A beautiful book.

Heather’s life is depicted from a young age to her elderly years, life changing around her while she continues to imagine what’s out there, up in the stars. Having met an alien when she was younger, she is determined to meet him again, and do returns to Cotton Rock in the hope that it happens.

A story of hope, and of holding on to what is important.
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David first started to draw when he was very young, creating Star Wars and Indiana Jones ‘mash up’ comics for his older brother and sister. Since then David’s work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, books and on T-shirts. He has also exhibited his illustrations in both solo and group shows in the

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