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The Clever Stick Hardcover – July 28, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–In the tradition of Peter H. Reynolds's The Dot (2003) and Ish (2004, both Candlewick), a clever stick finds its voice through art. The stick had always been smart, making up poetry, thinking of mathematical equations, and appreciating the beauty of nature. But since it couldn't speak, it could not share its wisdom with the animals and plants. Then one day, it realizes that when it drags through the sand, it can draw pictures. In a flurry of self-discovery, the stick creates a magnificent mural that makes all of the forest creatures cheer. And although the masterpiece is erased by the rainfall that follows, the stick knows it can always make another one. This pleasant little allegory features sweet nature-friendly pictures that aptly illustrate the story. It would be best appreciated by quiet, thoughtful children.–Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
John Lechner is an artist, animator, multimedia designer, and puppeteer, and the author-llustrator of the picture book A FROGGY FABLE and the graphic storybook STICKY BURR: ADVENTURES IN BURRWOOD FOREST. He lives in Needham, Massachusetts.
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Top customer reviews
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The author writes: " Ever since he had fallen off the tree, he had been sharp. (that line got my attention right away, yes, a smart stick). He would sit in the sand and think up all sorts of clever things. He would float down the stream, making up poetry. He would listen to the singing of the birds and wonder what made it sound so beautiful." Stick was very observant, but his problem was he had no voice, he was mute, therefore he could not communicate with those around him much to his chagrin.
Lechner proposes a brilliant solution for Stick, allotting him not only to discover his voice but to discover a deeper meaning to his life by being able to leave his mark on his world. The artwork is subdued and beautifully done. The book has many ideas and opportunities for you to discuss the importance of self-expression and the value of communicating and writing. You can also explore the significance of flexibility and providence. It encourages kids to enhance their gifts and talents and to have fun with the possibilities. It is a perfect book for the beach or for a snowy day...read... then introduce your child to his/her personal voice stick and have your child playfully respond to his/her world by writing in the sand or on the snow. Highly recommended.
This is such wonderful book. Especially for young readers trying to find their own voice. With a surge of new readers using picture books in middle grade and high school curriculum's I could see this book being added to the list easily. It tackles an often tough subject for nearly every person. I know that even as a reviewer and blogger I've struggled to find the best way to express how I feel about books and the other things I write about. But what The Clever Stick shows is what truly matters is that you express yourself in the best way you know how, by being yourself and enjoying it. When you can accomplish that you discover a happiness just by being you. It's fantastic! A message children especially will be able to relate to.
Coupled with the beautiful illustrations, John Lechner's book The Clever Stick tackles a tough subject with grace. Showing readers that it may be difficult to find out who you really are, but in the end it is worth it. And more often than not, those that see you for who you really are will appreciate you that much more. A brilliant picture book that reaches beyond the young readers it was initially targeted for, nearly anyone who reads The Clever Stick will relate to this simple character's journey.
Originally reviewed & copyrighted on my site, There's A Book.
So, having given this praise to one stick, why did it surprise me that another stick, "The Clever Stick", was going to equally amazing. But it is. John Lechner's book is a great read-aloud, and a wonderful book to share with children. And unlike the direct prose of Portis, his words and story are lyrical, with that fabulous 'fairytale' feel.
Lechner writes: "Ever since he had fallen off the tree, he had been sharp. He would sit in the sand and think up all sorts of clever things. He would float down the stream, making up poetry. He would listen to the singing of the birds and wonder what made it sound so beautiful." Stick would also make other observations and therein lay his problem, for Stick, you see, hadn't found a way to communicate with the creatures of the world around him.
Lechner uses this isolation to tug on our heart strings, before he devises a pleasing solution for Stick. Highly Recommend checking this one out.
Talking Points :::
o The artwork fits this story perfectly. It is in gentle colors, attractively done.
o The story has a wonderful fairytale feel and is a good read-aloud.
o My children (currently 7 and 9; boy and girl) loved the story. I liked it as well, and liked that there were ideas to discuss. Stick allowed us to talk about the nature of communication, the importance of writing, and the importance of flexibility and serendipity. (Don't worry, younger children will just love Stick and his story)
o Accelerated Reading Level - 3.2
mom and reviewer at BooksForKids-reviews