What can a kid do with a stick?
A little unnamed child takes a country walk (with no adults in sight) with a frisky dog and discovers a long stick. The child wears a bright red jacket and green gumboots. The mixed-media illustrations have a bold, retro look, with an idealized feel that’s reminiscent of the Dick and Jane era. There is a particularly glorious double-page spread of child and dog traveling through a golden wheat field with red poppies and purple thistles. The few words in large type in every spread always refer to the stick: “Find a stick, a very useful stick”; “Swish it”; “Draw with it.” A bit of drama is added when child and dog are on a bridge over a stream and the stick falls—to float. This scene opens up to include another child in the distance, creating a shelter from several sticks and a piece of cloth. When the stick reaches the shore, this new child picks it up along with some others. The sparse text satisfyingly echoes the beginning on the final page, as both children put those “very useful sticks” to use in building a play structure. The first child has short brown hair and pale skin; the second child has brown skin and black hair in Afro-puffs.
A simple tale of play with a found object combined with a story of new friendship, immediately retellable by a single child or a group. (Picture book. 3-5)