PreS-Gr 1--Stick Man is happy with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three--until a dog finds him and snatches him for a game of fetch. This is the beginning of a terrible journey during which, Odysseus-like, Stick Man tries to get back but is taken farther and farther away from his home as he is used over the months for everything from a boomerang to a snowman¿s arm. Readers will feel his anguish and cheer his eventual return (by Santa Claus no less, who rescues him from a fireplace on Christmas Eve) to his loving family. Bouncy, repetitive rhymes make this a good choice for storytime, and the saturated color illustrations carry well (although Stick Man does tend to blend, chameleonlike, into his surroundings). A slightly surreal holiday choice.--Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Donaldson and Scheffler, the team behind Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo, find a roundabout route to Christmas in this bouncy tale. Stick Man is just that, a brown stick with twig arms and branch legs. His story is delivered in perfect meter: "Stick Man lives in the family tree/ With his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three." One spring day, Stick Man unwillingly joins a dog's game of fetch, is sent downstream by children and woven into a swan's nest. As the seasons change, Stick Man travels farther from home, futilely protesting (in vehement Green Eggs and Ham style), "I'm not a mast for a silly old flag,/ Or a sword for a knight... or a hook for a bag." In his darkest hour, he nearly becomes kindling, only to have Santa arrive down the chimney. Donaldson and Scheffler's poignant, suspenseful profile of an inanimate object recalls Laurie Keller or The Velveteen Rabbit. Donaldson's rhymes never skip a beat, and Scheffler personalizes the many animals, people and settings in his witty watercolors. This yarn could become a December perennial. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.