Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

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Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Buy Stick Man from Amazon.co.uk

Buy Stick Man from Amazon.com

Genre: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Stick Man is a very lucky stick, living with his Stick Lady Love and their three small sticks. However, one day he goes out for a jog and becomes caught up in many precarious events. He becomes a toy for a dog, a pooh-stick, nesting material and even firewood. Things go from bad to worse and it looks like Stick Man will never find his way home.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2008
Publisher: Alison Green Books
ISBN: 978-1407106175

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My daughters and I have enjoyed many lovely stories by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler so we were very excited to read their latest offering Stick Man. We were not disappointed at all and in fact I think this is their most enjoyable book to date. It has all the ingredients you would expect – a lovely story told through rhyme, a gentle rhythm, well chosen words and wonderful illustrations. This book was a joy to read and I know that we will be returning to it many times.

At the start of the book we are introduced to our main character:

Stick Man lives in the family tree
With his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three.

This creates such a cosy image at the beginning but unfortunately things do not turn out well for Stick Man one day when he sets out for a jog. He is picked up by a dog who thinks Stick Man will make an excellent toy to fetch and drop over and over again. Eventually he is saved when the dog's owner is told to put the dog on a lead but then on his way home he is picked up by a small girl who thinks she can use him in a game of pooh-sticks.

This is how the story goes on with Stick Man stumbling from one precarious situation to the next. He is used by a swan to build a nest, holds up a flag on a sandcastle and becomes an arm for a snowman. It looks like he will never get home especially when he is picked up for firewood! However, rescue comes from an unexpected person and of course, as this is a children's book, there is a happy ending when he is helped home just in time for Christmas.

I cannot praise this book enough for its wonderful story telling. It is such a delightful tale and its very clever how one situation leads to another. The first time I read it to my daughter we were enthralled and once we had finished we had to read it again. During our initial reading my three year old daughter was genuinely concerned for the plight of Stick Man and was literally holding her breath as we read through the pages. Of course, you only get this reaction at the first reading, but revisiting the story has been just as enjoyable.

Julia Donaldson is well known for telling stories through rhyme and it works so well in this book. There was nothing contrived about the rhyme and I felt that this element really helped move the story along providing both pace and rhythm. Also young children love rhyme and my three year old is just at the stage where she can start to supply the rhyming words. This definitely adds to her enjoyment and boosts her self esteem. There are also many repeated lines and it did not take long before my daughter was joining in with these with gusto, especially:

I'm Stick Man, I'm Stick Man,
I'M STICK MAN, that's me,
and I want to go home to the family tree!

I must mention the wonderful language that is used throughout the story. Julia Donaldson seems to have a gift of using just the right words that are sure to appeal to young children. My favourite piece of description comes towards the end when Stick Man's unexpected saviour appears:

A scratch and a scrape and a flurry of soot.
A wiggle, a jiggle, and – out pokes a foot!

My daughter loves these words and enjoys repeating them as we read the story.

Finally, there are Axel Scheffler's magnificent pictures that complement the story so well. If you have read some of the other stories he has illustrated these will appear quite familiar. They are very detailed and all contain a quirky humour which I love.

This book has it all – an excellent storyline, rhyme, rhythm, enjoyable language patterns and wonderful illustrations. I know that we are going to be reading and enjoying this story for a long time and, unlike some other stories I can think of, I don't think I will tire of it. It really is a pleasure to share it with my daughter.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If Stick Man appeals to your child, it's worth taking a look at more by Julia Donaldson such as The Gruffalo, The Magic Paintbrush and The Smartest Giant in Town.

Booklists.jpg Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is in the Top Ten Picture Books of 2008.
Buy Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler at Amazon.


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