Stick Man

 

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

Stick Man lives in his family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their three stick children.  One morning when out for an early morning jog, he is seized by a dog and used to play fetch.  Then a girl finds him and uses him for a game of Pooh Sticks.  On his misadventures go as he is woven into a swan’s nest, used as a mast for a flag on a sand castle, and many more things.  The seasons change and he becomes the arm of a snowman until finally he is laid in the fireplace as a perfect piece of kindling.  But never fear, someone approaches with a Ho-ho-ho who will make sure that Stick Man gets back to his family.

Donaldson’s words are a delight to read aloud.  She has refrains that repeat as Stick Man is captured by the next person.  She uses rhythm throughout the book to create a brisk pace and jauntiness.  With her style, there is no fear that the repetition in the storyline will become stale.  Scheffler’s illustrations reflect that same jaunty, energetic quality.  They are funny and clever.  I found myself charmed by small details like the Stick Lady’s hair and skirt.  His illustrations gently mark the change in seasons from spring through to Christmas. 

While this is a Christmas book in the end, it is also just a delightful read that could work for talk about the seasons.  It would also make a great inspiration story for children to build their own characters from sticks, twigs, leaves and pipe cleaners.  What fun!  A brilliant read-aloud, this book deserves a spot on the crowded Christmas shelves.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.