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A STICK IS AN EXCELLENT THING by Marilyn Singer Kirkus Star


Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play

by Marilyn Singer & illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-547-12493-3
Publisher: Clarion

Turning the adage that sticks and stones may break one’s bones on its ear, picture-book titans Singer and Pham team up to entice young readers to go where most Generation Xbox angels fear to tread: outside.

Here Singer presents the full spectrum of outdoor activities in rhymed poems consummately animated by Pham's vibrant drawings. No matter the diversion—playing with the dog, balancing on the curb, running through a sprinkler, making stone soup with friends—Singer’s entreaty to get out and play is unmistakable. While many of the snappy lyrics show off the pleasures of moving—“Everything’s a blast / when you do it really fast!”concludes a piece extolling the virtues of running, puddle-jumping and skateboarding—a real strength of the collection is its engagement of the imagination. For example, in the title piece, what an ordinary stick in the hand can become—a royal scepter, pen, magic wand, drumstick—is limited only by its holder’s creativity. Pham’s evocative artwork heightens the imagination’s importance in play, with her digitally colored pencil-and-ink renderings so finely textured that they radiate a warmth as arresting as Ezra Jack Keats’.

A thrilling integration of verse and image, motivating all to serious fun. (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)