BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Stick Boy (available here)
Author/Illustrator: Paul Coomey
Publisher: Little Tiger
Publication Date: January 2021
Most Suitable for: KS2
Review by: Jacqueline Harris
Stick has just started a new school. He has always had trouble making friends and he stands out rather a lot. Stick is, as the name suggests, literally a stick person with some unusual abilities associated with being a 2-D drawing. Within a couple of days of being at the new school, Stick is being bullied but he does also begin to make friends. Pretty soon the bullies have landed him in big trouble; will his new friends stand by him? And what is the connection with the new shopping mall and the smart devices everyone seems to have in their homes?
At first, Stick takes a bit of getting used to. It is never explained why he is a stick person, and everyone in the story takes it in their stride. But as the story progresses, you find yourself drawn to Stick and the oddness disappears; in much the same way as you get used to anyone who is a bit different over time. This is very much a story of someone who is obviously rather different finding it hard to fit in. The drawings, which are cartoon-like, emphasise this difference and the style is almost like a comic, with helpful and humorous labels to identify everyone and what is going on.
The plot with the smart gadgets and devices is also not quite as far-fetched as might first be thought and it makes it quite topical.
Technically this is not a difficult read, but it brings up quite a lot of topics for discussion and I can see it being a popular choice for many readers looking for something a bit different. It is a very original idea and it seemed to leave with the possibility of a sequel; I hope so.
Meet the Mystery Mates
Author Paul Coomey introduces us to the 'mystery mates' characters from Stick Boy (available here)
Lives: In Foxhollow Drive, Little Town, with his mum Anna, his dad Simon and his sister Bella.
Greatest Fear: Not having any friends.
Biggest Ambition: To get through one day of school without getting into trouble.
Top Skill: Drawing Super Boy and Kaos Kid comics
Secret Fact: Has super-ish powers.
Lives: In Island Gardens with his dad.
Greatest Fear: Being bored.
Biggest Ambition: To be the boss of his own games company.
Top Skill: Knowing exactly the right word for something.
Secret Fact: Loves watching the news even more than his dad does.
Lives: On Station Road with his mum and dad.
Greatest Fear: Spiders.
Biggest Ambition: To be an architect.
Top Skill: Enthusiasm.
Secret Fact: Has never told a lie.
Lives: In Island Gardens with his mom and his sister Jazz.
Greatest Fear: His mom when she’s angry.
Biggest Ambition: To play midfield for Little Town FC.
Top skill: Nutmeg. Or maybe bicycle kick.
Secret Fact: Is incredibly proud of his little sister.
Lives: Edith Ramsay Court with her mum and dad.
Greatest Fear: Losing her voice before Friday.
Biggest Ambition: To win Friday Factor, obviously.
Top Skill: Knows the word to every Jonny Vidwire song.
Secret Fact: Once did a silent but deadly fart in assembly.
Lives: In Island Gardens with mom and her brother.
Greatest Fear: Her mom when she’s angry.
Biggest Ambition: To build an un-hackable computer.
Top Skill: Hacking un-hackable computers.
Secret Fact: Is incredibly proud of her big brother.
Lives: With her dad on Hawthorn Road.
Greatest Fear: Not having any friends.
Biggest Ambition: To be a TV News Reporter.
Top Skill: Asking great questions.
Secret Fact: Is petrified of dogs.
About the author:
Paul Coomey was born in Cork, where his mother taught him to read in 1982. His favourite book that year was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, and he hasn’t stopped reading since. He learned to write creatively at Kilmurray National School, where he was the only student to ever achieve a mark of 9/10 for an essay, awarded by Headmaster Der Hartnett for a story about a wolf in the snow.
When he isn’t writing and illustrating books, Paul works as an Art Director at a brilliant little company called Wonderbly, and sometimes does workshops and portfolio reviews at UCL and AUB and with the AOI and SCBWI. He lives in London with his wife Tanvi Kant, and in his spare time his favourite things to do are read comics and go to the sea.
Many thanks to the publishers for sending us a review copy and to Paul for the guest post.
Where next? > Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub
> Browse our Topic Booklists
> View our printable year group booklists.
> See our Books of the Month.