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Not a Stick

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  2,330 ratings  ·  208 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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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
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
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
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.
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
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
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!
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
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!
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.
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
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
The Library Lady
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.
I don't see any difference between the idea of this book and the other "not a box".
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
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
Bambini Travel
"Hey, be careful with that stick." is how this tribute to imagination and creativity begins. This book is for every child who has ever been told to put down a stick. Parents and teachers are forever concerned about the dangers of playing with a stick, but NOT A STICK is a celebration of the imaginative play that can result. Minimalist drawings and text with a touch of whimsy.
Valentin Eni
Replica la Not-a-Box. Imaginaţia copiilor le permite să creeze obiecte şi situaţii de joc din cele mai banale lucruri. Autoarea ar putea să continue cu o serie întreagă de cărţi gen: Not a Pebble, Not a String, Not a Button, Not a Sock, Not a Shoe, ori chiar Not a Shit. Dar cred că e bine că s-a oprit la timp. E o cărticică bună, oricum.
Absolutely adorable. The first time I heard this at New York Public Library storytime and I was mesmerized. Pushing imagination to great heights with just a simple stick! Great book storytime with toddlers, babies, preschoolers and beyond.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shakeema Gabriel
This is such a great book for imagination. Children can make anything they want to out of using a stick or a box. This would be a nice lesson to give each a child a stick and see what they can come up with.
Michele Knott
When I look at young children today, the imaginative world seems to have closed for so many and has been replaced by electronics. Portis' Not A... series is trying to bring some imaginative magic back!
It's an OK book that encourages imaginative play in children (a plus) and discourages judgment of such play by adults (another plus) without being preachy or didactic in the process.
Disappointing that the imagined uses of the stick are either weapons or objects unfamiliar to the target audience of toddlers/preschoolers (e.g., conductor's baton, barbell). I much prefer Not a Box.
Would I like this book if I just took it off the shelf and read it? Probably not. Reading it to a group of 5-6 year olds makes it so much more enjoyable!
It doesn't take more than a stick for exciting play, and this book, along with Not A Box, shows kids ideas for play (if they need them). Very fun!
Miriam Matthews
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
Amy Nicole
Good writing connection for lower elementary K/1st - give students a twig and have them create an illustration and/or story
So cute! And it shows that a big imagination can turn an ordinary stick into many, many things.
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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.
More about Antoinette Portis...
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