Reviews for The epic journey of Huggie and Stick

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* Odysseus had Homer, but Huggie (a grumpy stuffed rabbit) and Stick (a happy-go-lucky, well, stick) document their own larger-than-life adventures. Beginning endpapers of a world map hint that their journey may be global. The two friends belong to a little boy named Reese, who lugs them around in his backpack while riding his bicycle. But an accident caused by a bump and an open zipper begins their story, and it isn't pretty. The narrative is told in alternating viewpoints through diaries kept by the two characters as they relate their various escapades. Floating across the Pacific and captured by pirates, they eventually jump into a giant mouse's (aka kangaroo's) pocket in Australia. Hopping on a plane to China, a panda mistakenly tries to eat Stick, so Huggie saves him and is subsequently knighted by the queen in London. After leaving Africa in a shark's mouth, they are nibbled at by penguins in Antarctica, and chomped by piranhas in the Amazon. Each diary entry humorously tells a different story about who saved whom in heroic rescues. Weirdest Trip. Ever. (Says Huggie.) Best trip ever! (Says Stick.) Speech bubbles in various fonts and hilarious, colorful pen-and-ink illustrations make this a surefire read-aloud for any wannabe hero.--Lolly Gepson Copyright 2018 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Following their tumble from Reese's backpack, Huggie, a worn and curmudgeonly stuffed rabbit, and Stick, an optimistic branch, embark on a weeklong adventure that spans all seven continents. Diary entries written by each traveler tell the story, and their wildly different personalities become clear. Stick is perpetually positive, seeing the best in every situation: while hitching a ride with a kangaroo ("a giant mouse with a POCKET on her tummy") in Australia, Stick breaks his companion's fall when he slips out of the pocket, writing "Thank goodness I was there or he could have been hurt!" Huggie's entry, written on a bandage wrapper, isn't quite so rosy: "Dear Diary, There's a stick up my butt." Debuting illustrator Spencer's cartoonish illustrations pair well with Daywalt's text of two travelers, heightening the characters' incongruity through facial expressions and body language (while walking the plank, Stick smiles wide, tucking into cannonball position as he jumps, while Huggie fiercely glares back at the pirates). Beyond the silly, the book promotes neither perspective as "right"-whether grumpy or gleeful, both characters' ways are valid. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. Illustrator's agent: John Cusick, Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management. (Oct.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

After they go flying from a child's backpack, Huggie (a stuffed bunny) and Stick (self-explanatory) have a weeklong international adventure. The diary entries that make up most of the text present two contrasting experiences (e.g., "Huggie and I make a GREAT team"; "I hate Stick. I really do"). The comedy is grand, but some compositions and page layouts are convoluted. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A stuffed animal and a stick travel around the world by mistake.Huggie, a blue stuffed animal, and Stick, a wooden stick with a face, arms, and legs, fall out of their boy owner's backpack into the ocean. They narrate in diary entries, taking turns. Stick's an eternal optimist, cheerful and oblivious, calling pirates "nice guys in super awesome hats." In contrast, Huggie's grumpy, realistic, and perpetually annoyed. Spencer's pen-and-ink-and-digital art is full of sharp lines and angles, emphasizing exaggerated perspectives and expressions. As the accidental adventurers hop from continent to continent, the places they visit fall into disturbing categories. Australia, Asia, and Africa feature wilderness and animals but neither humans nor industrialization, while Europe and North America feature humans, industrialization, and news media. South America (in text, not pictures) has people who use Stick "as a blowgun to shoot at monkeys and sloths all morning." Such coding breathes new life into old, inexcusable messages about race and culture. Humor for the butt-jokes crowd and playfulness ("sharks are allergic to stuffed animals") can't outweigh the deplorable Western-centric attitudes and one massive geographical misstep: The protagonists fall off an African coast on the right-hand side of a spread into the Atlantic. This misleads readers who don't know geography yet and confuses those who do. (An only-somewhat-clarifying map on the closing endpapers does not mitigate this fault.) Moreover, the suspension of disbelief demanded by the story is so staggeringly large that it's distancing.A worldwide whirlwind that misses the mark. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

K-Gr 2-Huggie, a blue stuffed rabbit, and the appropriately named Stick spend most of their time in Reese's backpack. But an unfortunate circumstance sends them both tumbling out of the satchel and into the ocean. Now the pair must travel across all of the continents to get back to their owner. Much like Daywalt's wildly popular The Day the Crayons Quit, this story is told through a series of letters or journal entries, with Stick giving an overly optimistic view of their day's adventure, followed by Huggie's less glowing take on what really happened. For example, on their stop in Africa, Stick comments on how much fun it was to be in a race, and how nice it was for a giant fish to offer them a ride in its mouth. Huggie clarifies on the following page that they were chased by a rhino, they jumped into the ocean to escape, and then were swallowed by a shark. This pattern is followed throughout, which may make it feel repetitive, though it is hilarious to see what new calamites have befallen the two. Spencer's illustrations are sharp and polished, while his cartoon-heavy character design keeps the tone comedic. VERDICT A strong addition.-Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.