What to Do with a Stick

Image of What to Do with a Stick
Release Date: 
March 14, 2023
Creative Editions
Reviewed by: 

Jane Yolen won hearts with Owl Moon, published in 1987. Since then she has written hundreds of books, including the bestselling rhyming picture book series How do Dinosaurs . . .?, demonstrating the playful side of poetry reminiscent of Theodor Geisel. Her new What to Do With . . . ? series, describing both imaginative and practical ways kids can use everyday things like boxes and string, is written in the same Seuss-like anapestic tetrameter, with a different illustrator giving each book its unique personality. 

Like the other books in the series, What to Do with a Stick describes the imaginative ways a child might use that prop, providing examples that encourage activity and getting outside—a pertinent message, given that the average American child spends just seven minutes a day in unstructured outdoor play.

Yolen’s rhyming meter is flawless and begs for the story to be read aloud, which is the best way to share a book with a child. Like a favorite song, you may even find yourself reciting certain lines to one another.

But the highlights of this book are Paolo Domeniconi’s realistically magical artwork and the extent of the illustrations he created to accompany the text.

The looks on the face of the red-haired boy, as he uses the sticks for distinctly different purposes, are recognizable to anyone with children in their lives. Fighting a dragon, anchoring a boat, fishing—each image imparts the magic of youth that Yolen’s words are meant to portray.

What to Do with a Stick is a book your children will enjoy looking through even when they can’t read. This will only make it more enjoyable when they start putting the rhyming words together themselves.