Kirkus Reviews QR Code


The Friend Who Helped Me Walk Again

by Michael Rosen ; illustrated by Tony Ross

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-5362-2532-7
Publisher: Candlewick

Rosen, now 76, describes relearning to walk with the aid of a cane after contracting Covid-19 and emerging from a medically induced coma.

Rosen didn’t meet the titular walking stick right away. Severely weakened, he “gasped and panted” when the doctors attempted to get him out of bed. He had to learn to stand and balance between parallel bars before transitioning to a cane (personified with googly eyes and a tiny smile), which he dubbed Sticky McStickstick. In the hospital, Sticky enabled him to walk the halls and navigate difficult stairs. But after Rosen returned home, Sticky sometimes “played hide-and-seek,” peeking from inside the washing machine or behind a snoozing cat as Rosen regained enough strength to ascend stairs gripping the banister and to make himself tea. At first, Rosen felt he’d “deserted” his trusty pal. But, he notes, even though he can now climb stairs without using the banister, Sticky waits by the front door “just in case,” a reminder of everyone who helped him to walk again. Rosen’s short, matter-of-fact sentences echo his step-by-step progress; Ross’ energetic, limber cartoon illustrations add humor as Rosen careens haphazardly through hospital hallways in a wheelchair and tenderness as Rosen walks unaided to meet his son’s family in the park. Rosen and his family present White; background characters are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A reassuring tale of patience and persistence that will especially resonate with kids recovering from injuries or illnesses.

(author’s note) (Picture-book memoir. 4-6)