Reviews /

Stitch

Authored by Padraig Kenny
Illustrated by Steve McCarthy
Published by Walker Books Ltd

Stitch is a very engaging and compassionate story drawing on the classic Frankenstein and is a gentle introduction to a classic tale with an extraordinary hero.

We meet Stitch and his ‘friend’ Henry in Professor Hardcastle’s home. We see very quickly that these are creations rather than humans. Stitch is visiting Henry in the basement where Henry has been banished. Kept in a cage to learn the error of his ways, Henry begs Stitch to let him out but Stitch reminds him he is there because he always breaks things! This upsets Stitch who feels it is wrong. And here begins the story. In brief, the professor, their creator has been asleep for a long while with instructions not to be disturbed! Strangers arrive at the door, with one of them claiming to be the nephew of the Professor. His nephew discovers his uncle dead in his bed. Stitch says he has not been disturbed for 328 days.

The new professor wants to carry on his uncles work but whereas his Uncle had compassion about what he was creating, the nephew has none and it transpires he has big plans to improve his uncle’s creations for his own ends. Alice, the young girl who arrived with the nephew, can see this is wrong. Henry knows he must escape but has never been outside in the wider world. Stitch and Alice have to try and find Henry. Aided by a kind farmer, Gregor, the Professor’s original creation, they set off. I am reluctant to reveal too much of the story to avoid spoilers, as it takes some quite unexpected turns. Suffice to say an adventure ensues fraught with danger and uncertainty. Along the way Stitch, Henry and Gregor encounter a whole range of human prejudices. Nobody understands that they have feelings!

The story is fast paced, challenging at times, scary and exciting. We encounter differences in all sorts of ways, with a the main theme of friendship and what that means. It is chilling and a bit scary at times and is a great introduction to the Gothic genre, albeit in a light-hearted way.

There are a great cast of characters that you can really relate to. You will care what happens and the consequences of the actions of the characters will create some great conversations. There are some big issues up for discussion at home or in the upper KS2 classroom.