Baby book review: A Stick is an Excellent Thing by Marilyn Singer, Illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Baby librarian Marian and her mommy Margaret review the poetic picture book A Stick Is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by LeUyen Pham.

Cover of A Stick is an Excellent Thing by Singer

Marian reviews A Stick is an Excellent Thing

Marian reads with her DaddyA stick truly is an excellent thing! Though that’s not my favorite poem in this collection. I have several favorites. The first poem is called “First One Out,” and it has two of my favorite things in it: a doggie and a ball! I also enjoy the sun and like to point out the boy’s teeth. Another favorite is “Jacks.” I’ve never played “Jacks” before, but I know what they look like thanks to this poem! I like this one because there’s a ball and lots of girls with big eyes. My final favorite is “Jump.” I really like the words to this one: “In the town town town there are noises all around. Come on listen listen listen to my favorite sidewalk sound!” It makes me want to jump when it’s read aloud! I like the city scene too. It’s a fun poem!

While these are my favorites, I enjoy every poem in this book a lot. I make Mommy read them over and over. I remember the first time I read the book I didn’t even have words yet! Just made-up sounds. But now I can name so many things in the pictures. I still don’t quite understand how Mommy knows what to say on every single page, but I’ll figure it out one day.

This is one of my most favorite books. I think it always will be.

Margaret reviews A Stick is an Excellent Thing

This book has seen a lot of wear and tear. The cover is only half on, almost every page has tape on it, at some point, it was ‘accidentally’ thrown into the bathtub and has some pretty bad water damage. It shows its love is what I’m saying. I don’t know why Marian has loved this book so much, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I enjoy the poems too. But not as much as she does! When she first started getting around the house by rolling, she’d roll to this book. When she started crawling, she would try to drag it with her. I could put it on the bookshelf and she’d throw all the books onto the floor until she found it. It helped her learn how to turn pages and is why I can trust her with picture books on her own, at 20-months (and even earlier). I suspect we’ll go through a few copies during her lifetime. And that’s fine with me!

The book does have many of her favorite things: sticks, dogs, rocks, balls, swings, bubbles, trees, leaves. It’s a plethora of images and words that toddlers love, though definitely not aimed at toddlers. It’s for early elementary-aged children.

Marilyn Singer is a prolific children’s poet. This is the first book we have by her, and I can’t wait to collect more and see if Marian is as engaged as she is with this one!

Looking for more poetry books? Check out our list of poetry books for babies and toddlers. I also made an epic list of 50 poetry books for children for Book Riot.

What’s your favorite poetry book for kids?


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