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Not a Stick

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  3,012 Ratings  ·  243 Reviews
Antoinette Portis again captures the thrill of when pretend feels so real that it becomes real. With a stick in hand, the options are endless—whether it's conducting an orchestra, painting a masterpiece, or slaying a dragon—give a child a stick and let imagination take over and the magic begin.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by HarperCollins
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Feb 25, 2008 Scope rated it really liked it
I used to pretend all sorts of stuff when I was little. Fortress out of Construx, plastic bag as parachute, all the standard stuff. I distinctly remember trying out that last one with a leap off the top of the swing set. Needless to say, I didn’t give that a second attempt. Imagination was a big part of my life. With “Not a Stick”, Antoinette Portis follows the pro-imagination blueprint of 2006’s “Not a Box”, creating a worthy follow up.

The book kinda goes like this: an off-camera narrator menti
Jun 28, 2010 Anners rated it it was amazing
Be honest. How many of you Goodreads folks out there routinely check closets for a secret passage to Narnia? Be honest! Okay, just me? That's okay too. Well, how many of you love letting your imagination run wild? Or, if you don't do so now, can you at least remember how exhilerating it was to be little? When pretending felt SO real and SO fun? This book is about just that. It is a sheer delight to read to pre-schoolers as they try to conjure up potential scenarios the main character (a pig, I t ...more
A stick can be other things than a stick.
Apr 21, 2008 Janessa rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The other day my kids were playing with pretzel sticks, trying to get their siblings to guess what they were imagining their sticks to be: airplanes, horses, etc. I listened to their play, and then pulled out this book to read to them. I wondered if they would follow the sparse text, but they didn't need any prompting to understand the subtle story of Pig and his everything-stick. They loved turning each page to see what the stick would be next, trying to anticipate the evolution of Pig's creati ...more
Lisa Vegan
I liked this one even more than [Not a Box:]. This book captures so well children’s imaginative play. I remember playing like this; I’ve observed many, many children playing like this. The ending doesn’t quite live up to the rest of the book text wise but the illustrations work perfectly throughout. I do wonder whether nostalgic adults might enjoy this book more than children will though.
Not A Stick is a little gem of a picture book. The entire book is about 75 words and illustrated primarily with line drawings. The story revolves around our (unnamed) main character who is a young pig. He is continually being questioned about the stick he is carrying: why is he carrying it, be careful with it, etc. Throughout the story our hero emphatically denies that what he is holding is a "stick."

The illustrations for each of his responses reveal that the "stick" is alternately a fishing pol
Jack Kirby and the X-man
A follow-up book to Not a Box.

This follow-up book has all the problems of the original (basically an inability to find a satisfactory climax to the book), without many of its redeeming features.

They've attempted to bring across the design elements - this book's cover looks like a plank of wood. Of course a stick doesn't actually look like a neatly cut plank of wood at all... And the original's cover actually felt like a cardboard box - this version's cover feels like a book cover.

The ability to
Pat (Get Kids to Read) Tierney
Not A Stick by Antionette Portis is in the same tradition as the predecessor, Not a box. A little pig is imagining with a stick. His adult continues to call it a stick when the little pig tries to explain that it is not a stick. His imagination turns it into everything from a paintbrush to a sword to tackle a dragon. This is an excellent early story book especially good for 2-3 year olds with short attention spans because there is little text per page. It can lead the discussion about pretending ...more
Sep 24, 2012 Romelle rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of Antoinette Portis' books. NOT A STICK is cleverly designed. The illustrations and text are ridiculously simple that I can't help but love it. In just a few words, Antoinette manages to bring the MC's imagination to life. The dialogue that occurs is genuine. The fact that the MC is a pig is also very funny. I love the layout and the pacing of the book. The square- shaped book also has a quality that I love. It's simplistic design gives way for big ideas and imagination that the book ...more
Zequoia Hyche
Jul 14, 2014 Zequoia Hyche rated it it was amazing
Shelves: imagination
I love this book! Antoinette Portis is amazing and I love how she is promoting imagination and creativity heavily throughout this book. I think that this is an excellent tool to use in the classroom, so that students can see that teachers value creativity and that their thoughts and imaginations are important to their learning process. Great book indeed!
Mar 31, 2012 Janet rated it really liked it
Not a Stick, another title from the imaginative Portis, about imagination. a stick, and a sheep.
The "adult" words are on a tan background, whensheep is thinking it is a white background and the imagined uses of the stick on a blue background. The cover has a wood grain effect. Overall a graphic delight and I like this one a little more than, Not a Box.
Jul 06, 2014 Tc rated it really liked it
Shelves: inpiring, favorites
Just like "Not a Box" only using a stick. This would be great for text-to-text comparison within the class, but also to inspire creativity by giving children their own stick to get creative with. They could then do a show and share with their creations. Endless lesson potential to assess in all domains!
Oct 25, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-library
29 months - We picked this one up after really enjoying Not a Box. This is the same concept but wasn't quite as well received by O as the box story which she completely loved. We probably just need to pick up more sticks on our hikes and park walks. :D
Jessica Gappy
Jul 13, 2015 Jessica Gappy rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-the-littles
Aria (5) really liked this book and guessing what was next. Only complaint is we would have liked it to be longer!
The Library Lady
Mar 18, 2008 The Library Lady rated it liked it
Yup, it's a redo of "Not A Box", only with a stick. But considering the message of using your imagination rather than buying a fancy toy, it's a message worth repeating.
Nov 29, 2016 Jannah rated it really liked it
So cute. I *might* like this better than Not a Box.
Oct 04, 2012 Huda rated it liked it
Shelves: en-pic-books
I don't see any difference between the idea of this book and the other "not a box".
Bernice Seward
Dec 19, 2016 Bernice Seward rated it really liked it
Deceptively simple. I love the way Ms. Portis captured the essence of imaginative play, of the things that a simple thing like a stick can be if we have the eyes to see:-) The end held a little, unexpected twist that delighted this reader (I'd say more, but then I'd have to hide this review due to spoilers).
I love this book read it I'm keeping it for life and I got it when I was younger and have a imagination
Nov 22, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it
This is a brilliantly simple book that indulges the imagination of children both young and old. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because the ending is anti-climatic. A little pig is holding a stick when he's told to "be careful with that stick". "It's NOT a stick" says pig. The illustrations show the stick changing from a fishing pole to a paintbrush and other items in the pigs imagination. It finally becomes a sword used to fight a fire breathing dragon. When asked "Still standing ar ...more
Nov 11, 2015 Daryl rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing and a wonderful shared reading activity for children and teachers. The book lends itself to conversations about multiple perspectives and different ways of looking at the same thing.

It follows a dialogue most teachers are familiar with, "be careful with that stick..." And pokes (subtle) fun at how overly pre-cautious we can become as teachers. And how by always avoiding risk for safety, we might, even without realizing it, limit creative moments. Moreover, it reminds teacher
Daryl Rothman
Nov 11, 2015 Daryl Rothman rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing and a wonderful shared reading activity for children and teachers. The book lends itself to conversations about multiple perspectives and different ways of looking at the same thing.

It follows a dialogue most teachers are familiar with, "be careful with that stick..." And pokes (subtle) fun at how overly pre-cautious we can become as teachers. And how by always avoiding risk for safety, we might, even without realizing it, limit creative moments. Moreover, it reminds teacher
Andrew Stockle
“Not a stick” takes the reader through the adventures of a mouse and all of the fun and exciting things it can create with a stick when using its imagination. For example, fighting a dragon, weight lifting, or going fishing. The mouse is constantly telling some mysterious person, or the reader, that the stick is in fact, not a stick. Almost imploring the readers to use their imaginations. The book is interesting and boring. It was interesting because the mouse was stating by its actions that it ...more
The narrator keeps commenting on pig's stick, but pig keeps insisting it is NOT a stick. The pictures show us that stick is actually a fishing rod, a baton, a paint brush, a horse, a word, and most importantly, anything but a stick!
The simplistic illustrations carry a lot of weight in this book. While the pig and the stick are black, all of pig's imagination is blue. It's a clever back and forth between pig and the narrator (who could very well be YOU the reader). This might be a good book to us
Miriam Matthews
Apr 24, 2013 Miriam Matthews rated it really liked it
We borrowed this book from the library, it was one of several that my 4yo son grabbed at random, but by the time it was returned it was the most read book out of all the ones that he grabbed.

When I opened the book, I was a bit dubious about the lack of writing, and the fact that it relied heavily upon ones imagination, but, once my son and I really got into it, there was no problems with it at all. He just loved trying to think exactly what the stick was portraying, and it was a lot of fun to se
Dec 18, 2012 Dolly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, 2012
This is a fun book, a follow up to Not a Box. Both books are very similar, with the main character demonstrating how an ordinary stick can become any number of things, if you just use your imagination.

Both books speak to the creativity and imagination that children have, often preferring to play with boxes and sticks, making up a world of their own rather than merely play with a pre-defined toy. We enjoyed reading this story together, taking turns reading the questions and responses.

Apr 02, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it
Another great book by Antoinette Portis. Whereas the other book's cover was cardboard (like the Not a cardboard box inside), this one's cover looked like wood. The little piggie uses just as much imagination telling what the "Not a stick" is. For example, he/she imagines the stick is drum majors baton, a giant sword for fighting a dragon, or a horse. Though I liked the imagination better in the other book, I thought the drawings were cuter in this book.
Feb 24, 2013 Magila rated it really liked it
Much the same as Not a Box, this book that focuses on imagination. There is something beautiful about the child/rabbit/stick thing and the way it plays.

A picture book for younger readers (and a great prospect for a board book).

It might get a little repetitive if it becomes your child's favorite.
I think this book is hysterical. It is so true. Adults tend to look at what children are playing with and say, "Hey, be careful, why are you playing with that stick?" when children aren't playing with a stick, they are completely lost in their own little world. This is a delightful book that is equal parts amusing and imaginative, you should definitely check it out.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Oct 08, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing
What a great book! I read it with my library students this week (grades 1-2), and we enjoyed using our imaginations. The simple words and pictures leave room for the reader to guess what the stick will be and to use their imaginations to decide what else the stick could be!

I will definitely use this book again in the library and look for the other books by this author.
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Antoinette attended the UCLA School of Fine Arts and is a former creative director at Disney. She lives in Southern California.
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