Words & pictures by Paul Coomey
“If you’re lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change”
A super-funny, super heart-warming story of falling to pieces and sticking yourself back together.
Stick is different. He ‘sticks out.’ The son of Mr and Mrs Boy, he’s literally a Stick Boy in a 3d world. We don’t get to find out why he is the way he is – it’s just the way he was drawn and that’s fine – but sadly, some of the kids at his new school aren’t so inclusive.
Stick’s family have moved 3 times in as many years. You might think it’s because Stick gets picked on wherever he goes but it’s actually because his mum has a super-top-secret job for a government agency (at least that’s what Stick thinks) Stick’s dad, Mr Boy, is a super sketchy character, a man with a van. Stick’s not exactly sure what he does for a living as every time he asks, his dad says things like ‘I’m off to see a man about a dog’ so he’s stopped asking.
Stick’s determined that Little Town High School will be different but super-mean kids and school bullies Gretchen and Sam show him otherwise. Immediately honing in on his differences, they continuously target and torment Stick. He has that all too familiar dark, heavy feeling, swirling around inside him again. But Stick meets Ekam and his group Nic and Milo and slowly, things start to look up. They see beyond his appearance and realise he loves his football, food and gaming – sticking out becomes fitting in.
And anyway, there’s something super-huge going on; Gretchen’s father Baron Ben – owner of Baron Ben’s Bargain Binz – is hell-bent on world domination and is using robot spies disguised as Alexa-style ‘Home-bots’ to drive customers to spend their hard-earned cash in his bargain basement stores. Even some of the teachers are involved! It’s up to Stick to lead his newly-formed gang, The Mystery Mates, to save their town from the grip of the Baron, proving anyone can be a hero if they believe in themselves.
Paul has really captured the authenticity of a group of kids that have just made the transition to high school. Those first steps of independence away from parents, yet still quite a high level of innocence and immaturity. The conversations the boys have with each other are laugh out loud funny – so typical of a group of Year 6s or Year 7s – the wee conversation…oh my days and nights, I was literally wetting myself reading it! I think that had to be my favourite scene of the story – all that talk of widdlers, piddlers and tiddlers had me laughing so hard, I needed a squiddle!
Children aged 9 upwards will enjoy Paul’s signature-style bold illustrations and the sticky situations the characters find themselves in. I loved the spotting small but significant details in the illustrations that really add to the messages of the story, like the Taylor Swift quote at the beginning of this review, so poignantly added to a poster in one of the character’s bedrooms or the book titles drawn on Stick’s shelves – have fun searching for them yourself!
Fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates will absolutely love Stick Boy.
With thanks to Little Tiger publishing for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and providing me with an advance copy of this super-amazing book.
Our Stick’s got his own website!
Stick with us a bit longer and visit Stick Boy.tv here to read the first chapter, watch exclusive videos, download activities and purchase a copy of the book.