cover image The Epic Adventures of Huggie & Stick

The Epic Adventures of Huggie & Stick

Drew Daywalt, illus by David Spencer. Philomel, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-17276-2

Following their tumble from Reese’s backpack, Huggie, a worn and curmudgeonly stuffed rabbit, and Stick, an optimistic branch, embark on a weeklong adventure that spans all seven continents. Diary entries written by each traveler tell the story, and their wildly different personalities become clear. Stick is perpetually positive, seeing the best in every situation: while hitching a ride with a kangaroo (“a giant mouse with a POCKET on her tummy”) in Australia, Stick breaks his companion’s fall when he slips out of the pocket, writing “Thank goodness I was there or he could have been hurt!” Huggie’s entry, written on a bandage wrapper, isn’t quite so rosy: “Dear Diary, There’s a stick up my butt.” Debuting illustrator Spencer’s cartoonish illustrations pair well with Daywalt’s text of two travelers, heightening the characters’ incongruity through facial expressions and body language (while walking the plank, Stick smiles wide, tucking into cannonball position as he jumps, while Huggie fiercely glares back at the pirates). Beyond the silly, the book promotes neither perspective as “right”—whether grumpy or gleeful, both characters’ ways are valid. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: John Cusick, Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management. (Oct.) [/em]