Stick Boy is, funnily enough, a boy drawn in stick form, and is the only character in this series that fits this bill. This is important to this, the second in Paul Coomey’s illustrated chapter book series, as Stick Boy is inadvertently left out.
Little Town, the place in which Stick Boy and his friends live, is experiencing a change. Baron Ben, a media mogul/entrepreneur, has introduced the Headbox to its population. The Headbox is an all-encompassing total virtual reality machine, built for gaming, socialising, work, and everything in between. The town quickly finds itself inundated with Headboxes, and accordingly quickly become addicted to all that it offers. Stick Boy, however, has a problem – being 2D, he is unable to wear a Headbox, and becomes somewhat isolated.
Removed from his friends, Stick Boy starts to notice changes in the behaviours of his peers, and physical changes in the town, too – these are unnoticed by others as they are too busy Headbox-ing. His suspicions grow and grow, leading him to an adventure that rekindles his friendships and reveals evil plans.
I hadn’t read the first in the Stick Boy series; my first impression was that this was a perfect fit for Wimpy Kid readers in my class, and truthfully, it probably is. I would say it offers more than that though – while highly illustrated, the storytelling is fast-paced and in-depth, with plenty of jokes and witticisms to sustain the reader’s attention. I would suggest this would fit within the year 4 classroom (and older, of course!), and would be a book for children to immerse themselves in rather than experience as a read-aloud, simply because the vivid illustrations add so much to the story.
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