I’m under orders. The Boys think I should write a review of one of their favourite books alongside the reviews of books that only ‘daddy reads’. So, rising to their challenge I’ve picked Stanley’s Stick which is a really rather wonderful tale of, well… a little boy called Stanley and his relationship with a stick.

Stanley's Stick

Given that it’s written by performance poet, comedian and song writer John Hegley you’d probably be unsurprised to find that it’s written with a wonderfully unstuffy lyricism, a story told in a few well-chosen sentences, but one that lives on in the imagination of children and ‘big kids’ alike.


It’s a book of adult themes, of loss, hope, imagination, generosity, selflessness, friendship and more – and yes, those themes are explored through Stanley’s relationship with a stick! And, to be honest, who hasn’t fallen for the beguiling charms of the right stick??? Who hasn’t had their imaginations unlocked by the possibilities inherent in a stick???

Mmm, if you haven’t, well perhaps this isn’t the book for you to read to children (and sneakily enjoy yourself!), but if you’re a fan of a good stick, then this children’s story is an absolute cracker!

The text is complimented by Neil Layton’s illustrations in which he artfully captures the ‘free-wheeling expressiveness of childhood’ . This book is an all-round winner.

“It’s a ‘stickasaurus!”

Surely the first picturebook ever to feature Stockport train station, this is an unpretentious hymn to the power of imagination.

Stanley’s Stick is a teaming-up of hefty talents—bespectacled beanpole poet John Hegley and Neal Layton, illustrator of the much-loved Emily Brown picturebooks. Between them they’ve conjured up something quite glorious.

Young Stanley’s constant companion in his childhood games is a stick. Not the fanciest toy ever, perhaps, but to Stanley it’s completely multi-purpose, doubling as anything from a fishing rod to a giant match. Then, on a family trip to the seaside, Stanley decides the time has come to set his faithful stick free.

Along the way there are marvellous flights of fancy, and a barrage of verbal puns. Hegley’s lyrical prose captures the free-wheeling expressiveness of childhood, and Layton’s deceptively simple illustrations are full of wit and character. Sweet, magical and thoroughly entertaining, this is Hegley and Layton’s first collaboration, but hopefully not their last.

Review from Welovethisbook.com

Oh, and putting my Primary teacher hat on, how about this for a wonderful creative writing idea? Children create their own stories modelled on the book – anyone for ‘James’ Jug’, ‘Steve’s String’ or ‘Ronnie’s Rock’???





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One thought on “Book Review: Stanley’s Stick by John Hegley

  1. Jeremy Bentham had a stick called Dapple, which is still displayed with his ‘auto-icon’ at UCL. He also had a teapot called Dicey, but that’s another story.


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