PETRA by Marianna Coppo

Do you ever get that feeling when you look at a book’s cover and read the title, that once you open it up, you’ll be in for a treat? That was the case for me with Petra, by Marianna Coppo. My record on this blog shows that I’ve experienced it before.

Petra is a story told about a stone and changes in it’s life, but continually seeing things optimistically. It’s a really special story that leaves you smiling at the end and also feeling quite optimistic. As always, there are many things I could focus on in this book, but today I will try to draw your attention to the power of the unexpected.

Petra starts out as a story about a seemingly giant stone that has stood the test of time.

You don’t get to know Petra by name, outside of the cover, but you know this stone has seen the eons of time go by and sets you up for it with a couple of pages informing us the reader this is the situation.

Then just as your accepting this reality of this “mountain”, Marianna Coppo adds in that twist.

And you’re suddenly brought into a new reality. But it doesn’t stop there. Coppo continues to set you into these pattern of getting comfortable with the present state of reality, and then she brings in the unexpected again.

And again. I really appreciated how each twist really was something that really wasn’t predictable, but felt absolutely right – and the final twist is the best of all! I think what really strengthens this surprise effect is that Marianna Coppo uses these twists to build into this character of this mountain/pebble/egg/pebble….

Petra is all together funny in it’s response to each of these new situations. This stone’s instant optimism helps Coppo with settling the reader into this comfortable state of understanding the current situation. It’s as if just as we’ve agreed with Petra that this new acceptance of circumstances is good, and we’re ready for what’s next, that’s when these twists come.

I almost feel guilty talking about a book’s unexpectedness and story twists, as I don’t wish to ruin it for anyone. But Petra is such a good book, I’ll wager you’ll still be quite pleasantly surprised with it. For me, that’s the challenge I’m taking away from this book. If I’m adding twists and surprises to my work, am I pacing them right? Are they an integral part of the characters, the telling of the story itself, truly suiting the book? I hope this can shine a light on the power of the unexpected for you in your reading and writing as well.

Special Bonus Note: On the cover, Petra has a stone like texture! It’s amazing.


Until next time!

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Mike Boldt

Mike Boldt is an author and illustrator from Alberta, Canada. With more than 18 books in the wild, he's authored titles such as A TIGER TAIL and ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT FLUFFY (Simon and Schuster). He's also the illustrator of Dev Petty's I DON'T WANT TO BE A FROG & I DON'T WANT TO BE BIG & THERE'S NOTHING TO DO (Doubleday). You can learn more about Mike at


  1. I love when I read a post like this about a particular book and then I realize that I have that very same book in my book bag. I just brought it home from the library yesterday. Now I’m really looking forward to reading it!

  2. I love rocks, everything about them. I am off to my library now to pick up Petra! Clever name!!

  3. I love all the books you shine light in, Mike! I can’t wait to check out Petra!

  4. I, too, loved the physical “feel” of this book’s paper and texture. Nice pick!

  5. Love the art–and Petra’s optimism and adaptability. Can’t wait to check it out. Thanks, Mike!

  6. This looks like something right down my alley! Going to check it out this weekend! Thanks.

  7. Interesting post Mike. Good food for thought. As I think about it, making conscious choices about surprising my readers isn’t something I typically do. Thanks for breaking this down.

  8. Have this on request at the library–looking forward to reading it!

  9. It is an amazing book–even the size is pleasing. I had a library copy, so I didn’t realize Petra had a rock texture. Thanks for breaking down the pacing. I found it helpful.

  10. I can’t wait to read it; it’s on order! Thanks.

  11. I love stories with lots of twists and unexpected surprises! Can’t wait to read this one!

  12. Can’t wait to read it. I believe Petra means rock as well. So clever title! Thanks for sharing this mentor text.

  13. Sounds amazing, Mike. Can’t wait to get a look at those plot twists….

  14. There’s nothing better than a great surprise. And several in one book? I need to find this one. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Geez . . . who’d ever think a rock could have a journey of a life with twists and turns. Amazing! Thanks, Mike, for the post.

  16. This book looks amazing! So glad you pointed it out. Must read ending!

  17. This looks fun! Thanks!

  18. I’m ordering this one! Looks brilliant, Mike, thanks for the recommendation!

  19. I read PETRA just last week! Like you, Mike, I loved the twists and turns in the plot. However, what I think I loved most was the twist Petra’s remark at the end gave to a familiar old saying. I won’t share it here and spoil the fun, but do hope everyone reading this post gets a chance to check it out for themselves.

  20. Thank youoddmanout you are the man

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