Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stick to It: Stick Man

I've mentioned before how much I like the team of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. We probably own more books written and illustrated by that pair than by any other author. Donaldson is known for her amusing rhyming text and Scheffler's pictures pair so well with the writing. Scheffler is amazing at creating expression in the characters Donaldson develops.

Stick Man (Scholastic, 2009) is somewhat seasonal in that the story ends at Christmas time but I think it would be an enjoyable read at any other time of the year as well. It's not too Christmassy. It's about a stick man (who is mistaken for a ordinary stick) who goes out for a morning jog and finds himself being taken, in various different ways, further and further from home. A dog picks him up, wanting to play 'fetch'; a girl tosses him into the river hoping he'll win a stick race and he is lost at sea. His adventures continue through the seasons but his one hope is that he'll eventually be reunited with his children, his wife and returned to the family tree. In the end, his helpfulness to another is reciprocated and, against all odds, he magically finds his way home, returning to his family on Christmas Day.

Stick Man is a fun story that highlights the importance of family and helping one another. Of course it's also a sweet story that will make you smile. One thing, though. You'll have to put on your best Scottish accent (or English, at the very least) when you're reading aloud if you want 'scarf' and 'laugh' to rhyme in any way! Good luck.

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