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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
65
4.5 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 1 August 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My grandson has just turned 3 and when this came up on Amazon Vine I thought it would be a good addition to the books he has at my house.

* What do I think? *
When I read it through before he had a look at, I instantly took a like to the illustrations, Neal Layton has made the story very visual. I particularly liked how on some of the pages only the main part is a vivid colour whilst others are dulled into the backgroup - such as when Stanley is waiting for the train with his family. I like the embossed cover, made it seem really appealing. I also thought the layout of the text was good - some pages went left to right whilst others went down the page and it made it feel different on each page. The story however wasn't to my liking. I found the S alliteration difficult in places such as "Stanley stands on Stockport Station with his stick." Parts of it became a mouthful and required a lot of concentration. Furthermore some of the phrasing was odd, as in "like pretending the stick is a match to catch the world aflame" and "boats ride seaback out on the distance"; they just don't seem to make sense.

* What did my grandson think? *
He is a big fan of lyrical stories such as The Highway Rat or Each Peach Pear Plum (Viking Kestrel Picture Books) and this didn't appeal to him in quite the same way. As he has an active imagination he didn't struggle with the concept of how the stick could mean a range of different things to Stanley such as a dinosaur, a fishing rod, a banana or a whistle but he didn't react as well to the words as I'd imagined he would; even though I read it with enthusiasm. He told me after three readings he really liked the slug but not the monkey (I've no idea why by the way!).

So overall whilst as an adult I'd be looking at giving it 2 stars, he seemed to favour 4 stars. Therefore 3/5 is a compromise.
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on 13 September 2015
A brilliant story. From the alliteration on the first page to the engaging storyline the reader gets taken on a journey and you really want to know what happens next. This story is great for both boys and girls aged 3 - 7 years.
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VINE VOICEon 14 August 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Before going into much detail, the most important thing to know, in a review of a children's book, is has the child asked to have this read again? Indeed, our little boy has, more than once; which may be all you need to know.

Other than that, the story, though in a well-worn theme, is a thoughtful take on the idea of the imaginative potential of simple objects. This isn't to say that the author lectures the reader on 'the-importance-of-imagination', rather that he reflects back to children, in a way they'd relate to, something of their own nature.

Hegley is a poet and this comes through in his prose, there is a rhythm to the words that I recognized from seeing him perform. It is somewhat different to the usual children's book style, though it does have a lovely lyrical quality.

The illustration may divide people due to its deliberately naive style, it's a style that I appreciate requires a great deal of practise (it's not actually that easy), though it's not one that I enjoy. That said my boy (two and a half) did enjoy it, he talked animatedly about certain pictures and showed a great deal of interest in it.

Despite my own prejudices about the illustration (I must be getting old, it'll be oil paintings of Lancaster bombers for me next), I and my boy both enjoyed reading this together.
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on 24 March 2014
I bought ten, the gave them to every child we went to a party for - aged about 4 - boy or girl. The poetry of the language is gorgeous. And it makes park visits all the more inspiring. Got to love a book about sticks.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This slim but delightful verse story by poet John Hegley
with illustrations by Neal Layton is a small but perfectly
formed treat for little ones. The power of Stanley's vivid
imagination works wonders on a simple stick, turning it
into a whistle, a bannana, a match and a dinosaur (amongst
other transformations). Mr Hegley understands that this
gift of chilhood is a fragile and transient phenomenon which
imbues his narrarive with a subtle sense of magic and pathos.

'Stanley's Stick' begs to be read out loud at bedtime.

Recommended
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on 26 May 2012
I love John Hegley's poetry and had high expectations of this attractive looking picture book which I bought for my five year old son.

It absolutely lived up to expectations! The language is really lyrical and is clearly rooted in Hegley's gift for performance poetry, it rolls off the tongue beautifully. It explores a little boy's relationship with his stick, and captures the feeling of having discovering the perfect toy!

Highly recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 September 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Not the best written children's book but lovely pictures, with the bonus of Blackpool Tower as a surprise! Entertained a 4 year old and then followed on with lots a stick related adventures of our own.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 July 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a large format quite slim book. It is beautifully illustrated with bold, deceptively simple colourful drawings, however I think it is let down by the text. In many cases the text is lost on the page, but more importantly the text just does not read well, the ideas are good but it is difficult to make the story read well for my young audience - and I am an experienced public reader.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I saw performance poet John Hegley live many years ago and he was fabulous. He manipulates language in clever and playful ways using rhymes and alliterations.

I was pleased to see he has finally written for children and Stanley's Stick did not disappoint. It is a simple tale about a boy with a marvellous imagination and a toy stick which is a banana, a ship or a dinosaur. The verse is non rhyming and yet poetic and beautiful. I read it to my two sons aged two and six and they both loved it and had a favourite page or illustration.

Speaking of illustrations, they are a real strong point in the book with clever use of juxtapositions and multi media giving it childlike wistfulness in places, especially the seascapes. With photographic sea and the simple primitive lines of Stanley's face, combined with real wall paper and wet look shimmery sand, the book is a marvel. Neil Layton is an award winning illustrator and he and Hegley make a dream team.

Highly recommended, these could become new classics in children's literature.

I hope he does more, they are really beautiful.
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VINE VOICEon 25 July 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I loved the idea of this book, and particularly the idea of articulating a child's imaginative play, I've read it a number of times to my 4 year old who has had no end of games with super sticks - but it just doesn't flow. My little boy wasn't drawn in by the story at all. Really disappointed.
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