It’s just a stick….right? I mean, what else could a stick be? It’s time to open your eyes to the way creatures utilise a basic tool for their own benefit.
Title: A Stick Until…
Author: Constance Anderson
Illustrator: Constance Anderson
ISBN: 9781595727770 Language: English
Themes: simple machines/tools, adaptations, science, animals
What’s it about?
A stick is just a stick until…this is the story of how an ordinary stick is utilised by animals and humans to preform a range of tasks. At the beginning the story focuses on the ways that animals use the stick – as a tool to catch prey, to present as a gift, etc. – before it is blown away and found by children to use in a game and eventually to support a tree that grows…and here the story can be restarted.
The illustrations are charming and tie in with the text with a lovely illustration/realistic balance. I also liked the little factual notes on each page as it provides a great extension and talking point to expand knowledge for children.
Might need to explain the games the children play as while readers of older/dated books would recognise them I doubt most children would.
Finding books about animals using tools isn’t the easiest thing in the world to accomplish. With the growing need for STEM/STEAM resources this book has been written at a great time. The stick itself can be used as an example of the most basic simple machine/tool. I feel there is also a lot of potential to look at technology through the ages since humans began with sticks and progressed to using stones etc.
Another subject area I can see being used with this book is in art. I can imagine having the class members each locate a stick in the school yard and once in the classroom the task can be “What is the stick?”. This task would be most effective after reading the book and I believe having some discussion about other ways the stick might be used by animals or humans – perhaps even a computer lab lesson with some internet research task to establish other uses.
This book would be great for any year level but I’m going to particularly recommend it for junior primary (grades R-2) and lower secondary (grades 7-9) as I feel they would most benefit from the tasks that can be created based on the book. Another group of students who this book would suit is ELL/ESL. Pictures speak a thousand words and it is very true with this book. A student with limited English would be able to grasp the concept since the theme is repeated on each page.