#387 – Stick! by Andy Pritchett



by Andy Pritchett

Candlewick Press

5 Stars


Inside Jacket: Sticks are great.  Puppy loves his new stick.  He wants to play!  Now he just needs someone to play with . . .

Opening:   Stick?  Grass!

About the Story:  Puppy has a new stick ad wants to play.  He asks several animals to play, but they are more interested in other things, like grass and worms.  All puppy want to do is play with his stick just not alone.  Will he ever find a friend?

What I Thought:  Here is the challenge.  Write a 32-page picture book, full of humor, suspense, disappointment, and glee using SIX words.  Not a typo.  Use only six—6—words.  Can you do it?  Andy Pritchett did just that.  Stick might be the shortest story ever told.  The white puppy with black ears asks his animal friends to play.


Cow is busy eating.  His response is as simple as puppy’s question.


Bird and Pig are also busy.  Puppy tosses his stick away, upset and alone.  Rain has stripped the bark off Puppy’s stick.  The illustrated rain is in a conversation bubble above Puppy’s head.  Suddenly, a . . ., wait, I cannot tell you what happens.  That would be a canine crime.  I will say the ending would make a tomcat purr.

With so few words, this tail, um, tale is actually quite an endearing story.  The Puppy’s repetitive question, Stick, is a good way for young children to gain mastery over a picture book when first learning to read.  Uncomplicated illustrations tell the bulk of the story.  I wish an illustration or two were available.  (A few can be seen in the interview linked below.) I especially like the look on Puppy’s face—his whole body—when something big happens.  His eyes bug out.  Four completely stiff limbs fly out from his body, which has leapt a few inches off the ground, and his ears point to the heavens like two exclamation points!

Stick is Andy Pritchett’s debut.  The illustrations may be as sparse as his words, but the messages Andy conveys are in complete sentences.  Children will love Stick, as will their parents.  Kids can sit and read Stick by themselves even at a pre-reading age and understand the story.  I think Mr. Pritchett’s debut is simply genius.

Interview with Andy Pritchett..


by Andy Pritchett

Candlewick Press    website    g+    facebook    twitter

Released  April 4, 2013

ISBN:  978-0-7636-6616-3

32 pages

Ages:  3 to 7


© 2013 by Candlewick Press

Text & Illustrations Copyright © 2013 by Andy Pritchett

Candlewick Press is part of the Walker Books Group







40 thoughts on “#387 – Stick! by Andy Pritchett

  1. Another great find! I love that the author only uses six words. It sounds like a perfect book for very young readers (ages 1-4 like Renee said). I love how wordless (or almost wordless) picture books allow for kids to flex their critical thinking skills!


  2. Yesterday I finally saw STICK! 🙂 It’s still not face out on my Barnes’ shelf, but I happened to see the spines on the shelves! I absolutely LOVE this book! This is 95% reliant on the illustrations because the words are effective only because the illustrations and page turns are done SO well. This is one of the few “sparse” text books I really like and can say—Yep, that’s all that was needed 😀

    And also, if an author who can’t illustrate writes a book that is largely reliant on the illustrations, and has a clear idea of how that should play out, you can include illustration notes or suggestions when you submit your manuscript. This allows the agent/editor to SEE what you do.


  3. Thank you for your review and for posting it in the Kid Lit Blog Hop. I have a question though. If this is such a simple book, would you still give the age range as 3 to 7. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for 1 to 4? Just asking… 🙂


    • I would think impossible. I doubt any writer could have sold the above story WITHOUT illustrations along. But authors are not to do that, only author/illustrators. Not even as a team (which I think odd and a slight to authors who have great ideas, but need the illustrator to help convey the text, as in Stick). Who knows how many great ideas have been lost because of this. 🙂


  4. Actually, Dr. Seuss would’ve probably been incapable of only 6 words! lol His books (which I adooooooore) are usually long 🙂 I wish publishers today had a more open mind about that, but the impatient parents want short, shorter…SHORTEST!


    • I think it — 6 words — was appropriate for this story. Besides, how large a vocabulary do dogs really have? I too, adore Dr. Seuss! Somewhere on this site is a picture of all my old books. And my signature on the inside cover claiming the books as mine. I didn’t share very well.


      • Oh, well, books ARE a precious thing 🙂 I will only lend to those I KNOW will return—and in good condition 🙂 I happily loan them to my speed-reading daughter-in-law (also a grammar school, Special Ed teacher). My father had a bad experience lending a few books (expensive, too) to a friend and was shocked by the condition of them when they were returned 😦


    • Stick!!!! Yay!! That is your complete manuscript? Well,, good job boy! Have your person put it in the mail to some publishers. I bet she has a book with addresses. I want to review it before it releases. Don’t forget! Wait, Do you think Stick!!!! Yay!! might be plagiarism or stealing or does the “Yah!!” make the thing different? It is a close call. Maybe you should hand this one off to Erik. He’s young. He can survive the fallout. But good luck to you anyway.

      Maybe a non-fiction book on the “Sticks of North America” would be a better title. That I would definitely want to review. Actually, I can see a real book with this title and I know what it is about. And I bet it would work. It is a great title for the subject. Hm. I gotta run, something just came up! 🙂


    • You are very welcome. I love the book from the moment the package opened. Imagine 6 words! I have trouble when I have 150, 500, 5000 words to work with, but 6? Good Grief Charlie Brown, even Dr. Seuss might not be able to do this.


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