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  Title : Stick and Stone

 Author : Beth Ferry and Tom Lictenheld (illustrator)

 Publisher : HMH Books

  Age : 4 – 7

 

A perfect friendship book that rocks! Stick and Stone is a tale of friendship, loaded with emotion and adventure, cleverly told in perfect rhyme. I highly recommend this book. Kids will love it!

Stick and Stone are on their own, until one day Stone faces a bully (Pine Cone) and Stick comes to his ‘rescue’ and stands up for Stone. Soon, they become best friends, exploring the world together. One stormy day, a hurricane blows them apart and Stone goes in search of his friend. They soon discover friendship really rocks.

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This is one of my son’s favourite books. Short, sweet and adorable, it is a fun book to read aloud. It’s one of those books that your kid is bound to ask to be read over and over again. This book is what I call a great example of a picture book that carries so much meaning in a few brief pages. It illustrates the way friends stick up for each other in a way that young children can understand. I really enjoyed this book. It’s a heartwarming story but I wish the book could have mentioned some form of redemption for Pine Cone (the bully) at the end of it. There is a slight hint of it in the last page but it would certainly be good to emphasize forgiveness a little more.
Perhaps that could be the conversation starter during a storytelling session. By the way, this is a GREAT book for storytelling in class.

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This is what one reviewer says
“Preschoolers looking for a model of good friendship need look no further. Kindness rules the day, and humor, rather than obvious lesson-teaching, moves the story along. Making friends has never been easier.”  -THE HORN BOOK

And here’s a conversation the publisher did with the author and illustrator. (Here’s the link)

A Conversation with Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld

The debut author and bestselling illustrator of Stick and Stone chat about the story’s inspiration, the challenges of bringing the characters to life, and what they hope readers will take away from the book.

Beth, what inspired you to write this story?

BF: My ideas usually come from interesting words or some type of word play, but for Stick and Stone, there was a definite musical inspiration. There is a song by Train called “Drops of Jupiter.” One specific line from that song really stuck with me: “Can you imagine . . . your best friend always sticking up for you, even when I know you’re wrong?” I love that line and I thought yes, I can imagine having a friend like that, and shouldn’t everyone? I thought about that line a lot and the word “stick” just sparked something, especially since it was a homonym. The play on words with a character named Stick sticking up for his friend was irresistible. As was turning the “sticks and stones” idiom on its head.

Tom, what’s your first step when you receive a manuscript written by someone else?

TL: I read it once and, if I like it, I read it again and start doodling visuals in the margins. I liked this manuscript immediately because the storyline is spare yet dramatic, and the perfect rhythm makes it musical. I also liked the challenges of 1), designing a stick and a stone who could be expressive, and 2) creating a world that would be as elegantly simple as the text while allowing for the written action to be visualized.

Beth, this is your debut picture book. What has surprised you about the publishing process?

BF: What surprised me the most was how amazing it would feel to see the art. Of course I had an idea of what Stick and Stone would look like, and I knew I would like them, but I was unprepared for how much I would love what Tom created. I knew the publishing process was slow, but seeing the art, from the initial sketches, to the color samples, and finally to the finished product really helped me get through the long wait. I truly anticipated seeing Tom’s imagination through each stage of the process as he brought Stick and Stone to life.

What do you hope children (and adults) will take away from this book?

TL: Of course, the message is about bullying and standing up for your friends, but I’m not a fan of books with heavy-handed messages (I think kids sniff these out and instinctively reject them), so I hope kids enjoy it as a fun adventure story involving unlikely characters, as much as anything else.

BF: I hope that children will recognize the power of friendship. How one small act or one small word can, and does, make an enormous difference, and could even help to make a lifelong friend. I hope that this book will remind children and adults alike to treasure the friends that they have and to remember that friends can be made in many ways, at any age, in every place.

Do you identify more with Stick or Stone? Or dare I say it, Pinecone?

TL: I probably identify with Stone, because he’s quieter and maybe not quite as bright as Stick. But I also don’t dismiss Pinecone; even though he’s a bully, we brought him back at the very end to apologize for being a jerk, because even people who make mistakes (that would be all of us), can be redeemed and forgiven.

BF: Oh, I think I have a little bit of all three in me. Stick’s pretty much a rule follower, which I definitely was as a child. Stone is sweet and fun, and basically goes with the flow, but rises to the occasion when necessary–something I strive to do. And of course, who hasn’t been prickly now and again?

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