'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 9 July 2021

Review: Stud

For a resident Queenslander, this picture book is something of a conundrum. I mean I want to like Stud but, come on…he’s a cane toad and we banana benders are obliged to feel adversely about such creatures. 

Fortunately for Stud, he’s a tenacious little toad and after landing in Fickleton Farm one fateful day, immediately tries to ingratiate himself with the farm folk there.

Unfortunately for this egocentric character, our farmyard friends find little about Stud that attracts or charms. He can’t be milked or lay eggs. He doesn’t even taste good. 

They dismiss him with their practical observations and disinterest until he entices them with a spectacular show to demonstrate his specialness.

Sadly, despite a stunning set of sequinned britches, Stud’s act falls short of spectacular time and time again. He reluctantly admits defeat when the farm animals have a stunning change of heart.

Stud is an ode to individuality and proof that you needn’t be number one or perfect in all that you do to make meaningful impact on people. Being you whether that is zany and humorous or quiet and thoughtful is most important in the appreciation stakes. Fox’s lyrical narrative suggests that even those we find at first unappealing and unworthy of attention may in fact contribute to a person’s wellbeing; a wonderful message imbuing tolerance and understanding. 

The pairing of this story with Anna Demchenko’s cheek-filled, eye-popping illustrations makes Stud a beguiling little number to share with youngsters, even if cane toads aren’t high on their list of favourite animals.

For more barnyard fun, check out this picture book team’s first title together, Ham.


Title:  Stud
Author:  Dhana Fox
Illustrator:  Anna Demchenko
Publisher:  Larrikin House, $24.99
Publication Date:  May 2021
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781922503114
For ages: 3 – 8
Type: Picture Book