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

Monday 7 February 2022

Sticky McStickStick

Beloved children’s author Michael Rosen (We’re Going On A Bear Hunt and other treasures), spent 6 weeks in an induced coma courtesy of Covid. 

And of course he wrote a picture book about it, because what else do you do with experiences that are both unbelievable and transformational at the same time?

As he learned to walk again and bat a balloon about between two parallel bars (which is what happens in hospital gyms the world over), Rosen’s physios and carers laughed at the name he gave to his walking stick – and Sticky McStickstick was born.

This book pulls no punches. Although the language is simple and pared back, Rosen’s illness and recovery are mightily in your face, front and centre. 

There’s great power in the depiction of small, everyday occurences through deliberate repetition and sameness. Great power too in the subtle, incremental changes that herald recovery. And in the very real fear of taking small but life-changing steps.

At one point I wondered if I could endure yet another of Ross’s wonderfully articulate and funny illustrations - a sickly purple, yellow and grey haunted face staring back at me from above his blue striped pyjamas! But persist I did, and happily the hilarious acrobatics and delightful wheelchair distractions were enough to keep the pages turning and my breakfast from reappearing.

It seems to me that a picture book is perhaps the perfect vehicle for sharing such potentially difficult content with young children, in a way that’s accessible, engaging and informative. Despite – and because of – the humour and continuity within the illustrations, there’s a strong sense of Rosen’s endurance and an urgency to read on.

This moving and funny story is a testament to both author and illustrator. Sticky McStickStick opens an important doorway into conversations about illness, wellness, fear, life, death, gratitude, kindness, family, wheelchairs and friendly walking sticks.

For your chance to win a copy of this deeply moving picture book enter our GIVEAWAY this week. Competition open to all until Saturday 12 February 2022.

Title: Sticky McStickStick
Author: Michael Rosen
Illustrator: Tony Ross
Publisher: Walker books, $27.99
Publication Date: 2 February, 2022
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781529502404
For ages: 5+ 
Type: Picture Book