Stick by Steve Breen

When the author/illustrator of the picture book in question is a two-time Pulitzer-winning cartoonist, you kinda expect the illustrations inside to ‘tell the story’, so to speak. And true enough, in Steve Breen’s debut children’s book, Stick, the cliche that a picture speaks a thousand words holds true, so much so that the few sentences scattered throughout more than suffice to tell the story.

The eponymous protagonist of the book is a stubbornly independent little frog who gets himself into a — both literally and metaphorically — sticky situation when he accidentally gets his tongue stuck onto a dragonfly’s back while attempting to catch his own food. As a result, he is taken on a rollercoaster adventure that sees him becoming an unwitting ‘passenger’ on various unconventional modes of transportation.

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Set in New Orleans, the reader, too, is swept along for the breathtaking ride — and lots of laughs — as Stick gets himself into various hilarious hijinks while travelling through the bayou into the big city.

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Finally, Stick’s adventure comes to an end when he lands on a dock all by his lonesome self, and he decides to ask a heron for help to get back home. All’s well that ends well, of course, and the little twist at the end is a nice, unexpected touch that ends the story on a wry note.

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