Perfect Picture Book Friday: Falling Rock by Rebecca Heller and Illustrated by Joyce Robertson

[I received a review copy of this book from the author.  No other compensation was received.]

Journey with Falling Rock as he spends several years searching for his horse and best friend, Runs Like Thunder.  This beautiful story has incredible illustrations that make for a surreal and heartwarming experience.  The black backgrounds with white text, along with the symbolic and silhouetted paintings, will leave you feeling more like you’ve had an incredible dream than read a picture book.

My son boohooed at the end of this story!  Admittedly I was rather choked up by the end, but he was sobbing.  I asked him if he was okay, and he said through his little four-year-old tears, “I’m just so happy!”  The story is intense — a boy’s best friend is stolen and he has to go off searching for him — and the ending brought great relief and sweetness.  In subsequent readings (which have been many), there have been no tears, but lots of questions about dreams, street signs, and horses.

I love this book!  I love the paintings!  They resonate with me and how I dream — more flashes of symbols than action.  I used to ride horses and it made me miss some of my old friends.  I also love that the artwork is not what I typically see in picture books.  This artwork will appeal to children and continue to appeal to them in their teens and beyond.  This isn’t a book that will make children jump up and down and shout “again, again!” It is, however, a book that they will pick up and say, “Let’s read this one.  It’s beautiful!”

Title: Falling Rock

Author: Rebecca Heller
Illustrator:  Joyce Robertson
Surf Like a Girl Press, 2014, Fiction ISBN:  978-1500459376

Suitable For Ages: 3 -10+ and even teens and adults


Friendship, Searching, Determination, Persistence


“Once there was a boy named Falling Rock who loved a horse.”

Brief Synopsis:

Falling Rock’s friend and horse, Runs Like Thunder, is stolen.  Falling Rock spends the next several years searching for his friend.  As he meets people along his journey, they help him by placing signs that say “Falling Rock” so that he knows he has already searched here.

Links To Resources: 

  • 2018 update: This book is not, in anyway, an authentic book about Native American culture or folklore. It’s a beautiful book and a very sweet story, but don’t read this book if you’re looking for an authentic Native American story. If you’re looking for genuine books about Native American culture and folklore – Birchbark Books is an amazing bookstore in Minneapolis, MN. They will set you up with tons of amazing books.
  • If you really want an eye-opening education and book recommendations go to: 

From Falling Rock by Rebecca Heller and Illustrated by Joyce Robertson

From Falling Rock by Rebecca Heller and Illustrated by Joyce Robertson

Why I Like This Book:

  • This is a great story that is both well told and beautifully illustrated.
  • The illustrations could easily hang in a gallery as their own show.
  • It will leave you feeling more like you’ve had an incredible dream than read a picture book.
  • I love Falling Rock’s determination and persistence in the face of near-impossibility to find his friend.
  • This book inspired a great conversation with my son about dreams.  He asked me if I had ever had a dream about a horse and sure enough I have.
  • Since reading this book, he’s been waking up and telling me about his dreams.  (My favorite being, “Oh Mama!  I had a dream that a beautiful woman was driving an excavator — but she drove away!  I was so sad!”  I promise you, this is word for word.)
  • This is a perfect story for anyone who is trying to get something or someone back that they’ve lost.

Where to Get it:

Author/Illustrator Websites:

More Reviews of this Book:

Where Obtained:  I received a review copy from one of the authors. No other compensation was received.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I’m sharing this post with Perfect Picture Book Fridays over at Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic blog!  Her website is an incredible resource for picture book reviews and all things children’s books.  I’m always impressed with what I find on her site.  Please take a moment and check out lots of other picture book reviews.


  1. I love your review about this book. The Falling Rock sign through me until I scrolled down and saw the illustrations. What a very unique story/tale. Thought it might be related to First Nation books about Native Americans. This is a book very worthy of checking out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joanna

    Love those illustrations. Also, unless it is a biography or historical fiction, it is rare that a picture books covers several years, which makes it intriguing to me.


  3. Jarm Del Boccio

    Looks like this one has been child tested, and passed with flying colors. I remember as a child a story of an Indian Princess based on similar signs. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It sounds rather emotional but fascinating. It catches my eye because of a funny story my father told me as a child about what those signs mean…it had to do with native americans, but obviously not this story! LOL. So your son cried? I take it from what you wrote that this was okay…. he was just happy – but you don’t think it’s too emotional for some kids? I’ll have to check it out and see. Thanks for the post!


    • It’s funny, my son tends to cry with reunions in stories. Have you seen Milo and Otis? My son boo hooed when the dog and cat were reunited.

      I don’t *think* this book would be too emotional for the vast majority of children — but children react so differently. It would definitely depend on the child.

      Thank you so much for reading! Did you get a chance to check it out when it was free? I’d love to hear what yo thought of it!

      Liked by 1 person

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