Stick Man is an inspired and engaging character (descended I am sure from the cave-stick-man my children and I loved in The Gruffalo's Child). A stick is universally popular with small children so a little living stick couldn't fail to appeal to them. Stick Man's adventures mirror the many things for which children use their sticks. Mistaken for an ordinary stick, Stick Man is thrown to a dog, used as a Pooh-stick, put on a sandcastle as a flag, amongst other things, each time travelling further and further from his family tree. How will he get home?
Although the first half of the book is in bright sunshine colours, the winter kicks in and we have a sad shivering Stick Man and snowy pages. Stick Man ends up in the grate (a brief scary moment for the child listener!) but luckily, Santa descends and there's a happy Christmas-time ending: it's a perfect Xmas present for preschoolers.
The story is told with Donaldson's trademark rollicking rhythm and rhyme, and catchy repetitive phrases children love to join in with. Scheffler's bold illustrations are bursting with approachable large-eyed characters and a wry humour (my children loved the Gruffalo-bauble of the Christmas tree) making this another fine and warm-hearted cracker from this magical duo.