Written by Beth Ferry, Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Chronicle Books, 2013
The plot in a nutshell: A stick and stone become friends.
Stick and Stone are both alone in the world and lonely. One day, Pinecone mocks Stone’s ability to sit on a swing (which he can’t really do because he’s round) and Stick comes to his defense. From that point on, Stick and Stone are inseparable friends. Together they can do things that they couldn’t do independently and they have a wonderful time. But then a hurricane comes along and the wind carries Stick away. Stone looks everywhere for him and finally finds him stuck in a puddle. Stone throws himself into the puddle, creating a splash that dislodges Stick and the two friends are overjoyed to be reunited.
This is the debut picture book from author Beth Ferry and it’s a wonderful story about friendship with a little anti-bullying message added for good measure. The story is told in rhyme, with short sentences of sometimes only a word or two. It almost feels like a song as you read through it. I love that we see Stick stand up to Pinecone when he is bullying Stone and then we see Stone helping Stick in return later. At the end of the book, we get to see Pinecone apologize to Stone, which brings the book to a nice conclusion.
Tom Lichtenheld’s illustrations are done in pencil, watercolor and colored pencil with digital art assistance from Kristen Cella. In an absolutely delightful article for 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Mr. Lichtenheld shares some of the original concepts he had for this book’s artwork and points out, in particular, ideas he had that didn’t work, such as having dialogue balloon commentary (which was too distracting) and Stick and Stone visiting famous places like Stonehenge or the Nighthawks café. On the book’s endpapers, we see a stick falling from a tree and a ball of rock ejected from a volcano, showing the creation of these two characters. I love the expressiveness of their faces and the warm and natural colors used to create their world. This book is so great.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that friends are always there for each other, no matter who (or what) they are.