Michael Rosen’s Sticky McStickstick: The Friend Who Helped Me Walk Again

Candlewick. Nov. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536225327.
Gr 1-3–In writing about how he had to relearn how to walk after a bout with Covid left him unconscious and bedridden for 40 days, Rosen taps into a well of feeling that anyone trying to get better after a long illness (or knowing someone who is) will share. Actually, it’s a range of feeling—beginning with helplessness as attendants lift him to his feet and he begs to be allowed back in bed, moving to tentative and then increasing confidence as he goes from walker to wheelchair to rehab (kicking a balloon to exercise flexibility and balance), and then is introduced to the titular wooden cane for the final steps to independence. In Ross’s minimally detailed, appropriately shaky-lined cartoon illustrations, Sticky comes with a friendly face and becomes a cherished companion even after helping the thin, likewise shaky author regain his strength and, triumphantly, get to the bathroom without its help. In fact, he concludes, it comes home to serve as a reminder of the kind people who nursed and guided him back to health.
VERDICT A personal story, but a timely one that offers a hopeful model of recovery from serious illness.

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