Review Blog

Feb 06 2018

I love you stick insect by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408869925
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Stick insects. Butterflies. Friendship. Recognition. When the stick insect spies another of his kind, he falls in love. She is the most beautiful stick insect he has ever seen and he dreams of their life together. They will have fun and laugh together, join a band and make some marvelous noise, dip their toes in the ocean, surf and fly with the birds. In the background the butterfly keeps warning, 'It's a stick!'
Without drawing breath our ardent lover tells his beloved that they will ride on motorbikes, and hop on a rollercoaster, go to the pictures together with a huge bag of popcorn.
When he finally leans towards her he finds that butterfly is correct and he bemoans the fact that no one told him, eliciting a wonderful line from the butterfly.
Children will laugh with the stick insect as he imagines their wonderful life together, becoming more aware that butterfly is correct in her assertion.
It begs the question of things not being all they seem, or of judging books by their cover, or taking a step back, of the saying 'fools rush in'. These could be discussed with children as they read this book.
Teachers and students will take the opportunity to further research this insect and possibly set up a stick insect tank in the classroom.
The arresting illustrations use only a few lines to get across the stick insect's ardour, sometimes filling in the background with water colour wash that creates part of the setting. His highly original illustrations took my eye when I read, I'm going to eat this ant (2017) and I am hopeful that more will appear from this engaging and creative author.
Fran Knight

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