The Clever Stick

The Clever Stick by John Lechner

This is one sharp stick, very smart and clever.  He is so bright, he writes poetry and enjoys listening to the birds singing.  So bright that he is frustrated when he can’t communicate with the other things in the forest.  Finally, he is so dejected that he just drags himself home.  But then he looks back and realizes that he is leaving a trail in the dirt, and that he can use that trail to communicate!  The stick draws a huge detailed picture that has everyone in the forest impressed.  Even when the rain comes and washes it all away, the stick is still happy because he knows he can always draw more.

Lechner has created a smart story about self-expression and finding innovative ways to communicate.  The book has a gentle sense of humor that works very well.  It is a quiet sort of book, one that is more about brains than action, more about creativity and imagination too.  The fact that the stick is special because of its intelligence is also a great message to send to children who may be hiding their own light in school.  Lechner’s illustrations done in ink and watercolor are simple and clear. 

A sharp stick for smart kids, this book is a quiet gem.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Also reviewed by Books4YourKids.

Would I Trade My Parents?

Would I Trade My Parents? by Laura Numberoff, illustrated by James Bernardin

The author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie has a picture book that speaks to all families.  The question of whether you would trade your parents for another set is answered through a series of different families.  They all have differing routines, differing rules, differing perks of being a child in that family.  Some families have blueberry pancakes, another has chocolate milk, another allows lots of TV, and another allows all sorts of pets.  In the end, the boy narrating the book sees the positives about his own family even though he doesn’t have everything the other families have.  And he realizes that he would never trade his family because just like all of his friends, he think his family is the best of all.

Written with Numeroff’s trademark ease and humor, this book will inspire children to think about their own families in a positive way.  Bernardin’s illustrations are colorful and bright, showing a wide diversity of families.  The text and pictures meld into a friendly package that invites introspection and thought as well as smiles.

A positive view of families and all of their differences, this book is appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.