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Not a Stick

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  3,857 ratings  ·  297 reviews
A celebration of the power of imagination from the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award-winning creator of Not a Box

Experience the thrill of the moment when pretend feels so real that it actually becomes real!

Following the critically acclaimed Not a Box, this book proves that a stick is not always just a stick. Whether it's conducting an orchestra, painting a masterpiece, or s
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by HarperCollins
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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,857 ratings  ·  297 reviews

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Jun 28, 2010 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
Feb 01, 2008 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
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.
A stick can be other things than a stick.
Apr 21, 2008 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
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
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Super cute book that encourages imagination. The illustrations are my favorite kind. From the very first page (as in before the actual story even starts) I was in love with this little pig. On th epage with the dedication you can see him reaching for his stick and it's such a sweet innocent lovely little picture. How can you not love this book? We read it a lot before deciding to return it to the library. I'd definitely check it out again. ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: story-time
Sorry to see there were not stickers in it. I hate to be a stickler about it. Except my library copy was a bit sticky... Sorry to be a stick in the mud but a book shouldn't be sticky without stickers. But this is a book that'll stick around for sure.

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
Sep 24, 2012 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
Mar 31, 2012 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 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! ...more
Zequoia Hyche
Jul 14, 2014 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!
Sep 29, 2011 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 ...more
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm beginning to really enjoy Portis' books.

Pig uses his imagination to turn a plain stick into a fishing rod, baton, paint brush, sword, etc... The illustrations are colorful when Pig is using his imagination and colorless when the adult voice is speaking.

Very neat book.
Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
More of the same, sure. But Portis does it so well that I can't complain. If she does this one more time with, say, a cat with a sock, THEN I might get a bit put out. Until then, she's gold. ...more
The Library Lady
Mar 18, 2008 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. ...more
Huda Fel
Oct 03, 2012 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". ...more
Jul 13, 2015 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!
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
So cute. I *might* like this better than Not a Box.
Josiah Barnard
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Not a stick is a book with few words. It heavily repeats the word stick, but the imagery teaches a great lesson. Throughout the book the main character who is a stick figure with a pig’s head is carrying a stick. The text keeps asking what he’s doing with the stick however he maintains it is not a stick and through the imagery it shows all the things he is pretending to do with the stick and that he is pretending it is. This is a great lesson for any young child to learn about using their imagin ...more
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
While this was a cute book, I prefer Not a Box. Like Not a Box, I feel like little kids would like this book. Since the book was written for that audience, it does its job. I appreciate that it shows kids how to use their imagination and have adventures with everyday objects. You don't need a screen or something that required batteries to have fun.

Author: Antoinette Portis
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 2007
Nancy Kotkin
In the same fashion as Not a Box, this picture book demonstrates the marvels a child can do with a stick. Imagination takes flight in this inventive tale. I would have preferred more differentiation between her two books that focus on creativity and celebrate unstructured play, but perhaps it's best not to tamper with what works. Simple iconic art style perfectly complements the text, but the illustrations also extend the written words in an unexpected way.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Spencer Jones
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Again I think these books by Antoinette Portis are so creative and original because they really express how children think and how they see the world. I also love how the covers of these books are the same texture as a box or a stick. The simple illustrations make it all the unique and fun and can be a great way to get students to think differently. This book is animal fantasy and is in the kindergarten to 2nd grade range
Andrea Keeland
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
Not A Stick by Antoinette Portis is a super cute story about a child's imagination, but you would never know it without the clever illustrations. With this book, the line between an adult and a child's imagination with inanimate objects is very clear.

I would recommend this book because of its creativity. The illustrations add to the message the author is trying to portray.

This book could be used to spark creativity within students possible before a narrative writing assignment.
Wendy Weaver
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Like the book "Not a Box", I love the imagination that is sparked in this book. A great way to connect with kids. I also love the pictures that turn this not stick in a great creation. Also as an adult this is a reminder that imagination is important and we should not limit this from out students and children.

Grade level: k-2
Genre: modern fantasy
Lia Brent
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Of course, a stick is never just a stick either. (See my review for the first book: Not a Box )
My son was disappointed a mechanical weapon used to fight the bad guys was not a choice we see the little pig explore, but as a mom, that was fine by me! An adorable read that reminds me of the illustrations and imagination in Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Jo Oehrlein
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book, illustrated in a style reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon is an homage to imaginative play.

An off-screen adult keeps asking about the child's stick. The child says they don't have a stick. It's a horse, a sword, a paintbrush, and much more besides.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
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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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