The Clever Stick

JOHN LECHNER, Author, JOHN LECHNER, Illustrator . Candlewick $14.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-3950-1

The unlikely hero—a sharp, wooden stick—of Lechner's (Sticky Burr ) fable about expressing oneself has an extraordinary mind (a watercolor spot shows a thought balloon above the stick that reads “a2+b2=c2”). Because he can't speak, though, he can't share his knowledge and feelings. “When he came across a frog writing a poem, he wanted to share a simile about the sun being like a dragon. But he could not.” Then the stick realizes that his sharp end leaves a line in the sand. He can draw, and, for the first time, the world recognizes his existence: “As he scribbled, the plants and animals gathered around and watched in rapt attention.” The stick's sand drawing is a tapestry of fantasy elements: a castle, a dragon, woodland creatures on sailing ships. When the rain soon washes it away, “the stick didn't care.... He knew at last he had found his voice.” It's a triumphant moment. Our best gifts, Lechner seems to say, may not lie where we expect, but it is only in their pursuit that we find ourselves. Ages 5–8. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/15/2009
Release date: 07/01/2009
Genre: Children's
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