The Magic Crystal

by Brigitte Weninger and Robert Ingpen

 (Penguin Young Readers New York NY  2003)

peace with ourselves-peace with each other

highly recommended but unavailable - maybe a copy in your local library


Pico was an ugly, hunchbacked dwarf who lived near a mountain. He did not want anyone to see him. A stinky troll often visited Pico. One night Pico came across some crystal dwarves as he was climbing the mountain. They sang a mysterious song but it had no ending. This beautifully illustrated and engaging story for all ages to enjoy and share together contains many peace-building elements:

  • happy endings

  • everyone winning

  • nonviolent resolution

  • imaginative and creative

  • challenges existing stereotyping

  • faith and hope

  •     peace with the environment

  • finding personal peace

  • element that supports the idea that peace is possible

Pico created an ending to the song and the grateful crystal dwarves introduced him to the Crystal King. Pico was happy. He had friends and the Crystal King gave him a wonderful gift.

"I have friends now. What more could I want?"

The kind and friendly Pico showed the crystal to the troll when he returned to his cave. But the stinky and greedy troll wanted to be rich. He decided he would also create an ending to the song and he, too, was rewarded. But when the troll looked into the magical crystal he saw his true reflection.

Pico was no longer ashamed of how he looked and he spent many hours telling the crystal dwarves stories he had heard about the world beyond the mountain.

Critical questions to explore with children 

  • Do you think Pico should have been ashamed of how he looked?
  • Why do you think the stinky troll snooped around Pico's cave?
  • Why did the crystal dwarves want to reward Pico?
  • Was Pico wise to share his gift with the stinky troll?
  • Describe what you think the stinky troll saw when he looked into the crystal?
  • Does the story have a happy win-win ending for everyone?

Creative questions to explore with children

  • What other wonderful things do you think the magic crystal could do?
  • Should the Crystal King have found another gift for the stinky troll?
  • What stories do you think Pico shared with the dwarves?
  • What do you think happened to the stinky troll? Do you think he had learned anything?
  • Would you like to have a magic crystal to look into? What do you think you would see?
  • How else could the story have ended with win-win?

Teaching and Learning for Peace Foundation January 2007

return to story list

return to noticeboard