Title: Stick Man
Author: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
Year published: 2009
Publisher: Alison Green Books
Number of pages: 32
Recommended age: 4 to 7
Reviewed by Featured Guest Reviewers: Jay F. from and his son Mackenzie (5)
Summary (from Scholastic): A rhyming delight from the creators of The Gruffalo, which explores what it’s like to be misunderstood. Stick Man looks like any old stick. No one realises he has feelings. And when one morning he goes for a jog and forgets to watch out for an excited dog, poor Stick Man becomes the stick that the dog wants to use for his favourite trick! Soon Stick Man is being used for all sorts of things: a flag mast; a cricket bat; even firewood! As summer changes to winter, and Stick Man is lost and frozen, how will he get home to the Family Tree again? Introducing an unforgettable character, this warm, witty and original rhyming story builds to an exciting and moving finale.
1. What is the story about? A man who is a stick gets lost and tries to get back to his family who live in a tree. He gets used as different things like a toy for a dog, a hook for a bag, a flag mast on a sandcastle, a snowman’s arm, and nearly a stick for a fire.
2. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book? I think the cover is really good and the pictures because they have lots of colour and are funny.
3. Who is/are the main character(s)? Can you relate to them? Stick Man is the main character but he isn’t like me because he is a daddy and a stick, but I like him because he is always running to get home.
4. Have you experienced anything in your life like what happens in this book? What happened? I got lost in a shop and was scared but didn’t have to run home because mummy found me.
5. What is your favorite part of the story? When Santa gives him a ride home in his sleigh.
6. What is your least favorite part of the story? When he nearly gets burned because that wouldn’t be nice because his babies wouldn’t see him again.
7. Are there parts of the story that don’t make sense? When he is a boomerang because he isn’t curved he is straight.
8. How did the story make you feel? I laughed sometimes but was scared when he was in the fire and happy when he go home.
9. What lessons did you learn from this story? Never go out for a jog by myself but if lost and can’t find Santa look for the police to help me.
10. Who do you think would like this book? I would read this all the time – read it lots until I die really. I think that Nathaniel (3yr old brother) would like it so I read it to him and he liked it. I think that Reilly (4 year old cousin) would like it but if he can’t read it I’ll read it to him. I think that you like it too Daddy. Both boys and girls like it because it is fun.
11. Anything else? This is my first book that I got to choose myself and it is my favourite book, I love it. I give the book 5 stars, but if I could I’d give it 100!
Son's Rating: ★★★★★
What it’s about: This story, told in rhythm and rhyme, and catchy repetitive phrases, engages children – and adults – with its central character, Stick Man, that is literally a stick as he tries to get back to his family. He goes through trials that any child with an actual stick will recognise – pooh sticks, snowman’s arm, sword for a knight – which catches their attention right away. It is a tale of family commitment with a Christmas themed twist at the end, just as it looks like poor Stick Man is about to meet his fiery end, which is as delightful as it is happy.
My thoughts: From the team that brought The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, and The Gruffalo’s Child it is hard to find much that isn’t to like about this story. The pace and lyrical quality to the language is wonderful, and the rhymes are contagious and nicely predictable for young ears. As repetitive as the rhythm is there is something special about the book as, no matter how often it is read – and in this house it is VERY often – it never seems to grow stale.
The pictures are wonderful, with little details that add to the story immensely rather than just portraying what is said – Mackenzie’s favourite image is the ‘angry crab’, for example, which isn’t mentioned in the words at all.
My bottom line: I’d definitely recommend this book to other parents and children – and have done so – and think that it is a great book to read to younger children as well as to start them off when they are starting to read on their own.
If children have read/seen Winnie the Pooh (Pooh Sticks), the Gruffalo’s Child (the Stick Man himself), or ever just used a stick and their imagination to play, then things in this story will jump out and make a connection instantly.
Dad's Rating: ★★★★½
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