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Stanley's Stick

Take 5: Ideas for Independent/Home Learning Stanley’s Stick by John Hegley and Neal Layton (Hodder)

1. Explore it

Look at the front cover of the book and talk about what you can see together. Where is Stanley? What is he doing? What do you think this story will be about? What do you think Stanley will do with the stick? How do you think he is feeling? How do you know? Now read aloud the spread below, looking carefully at the illustrations:

Talk together about what is happening here. Where is Stanley? Where is he going on the train? Who is he with? What seaside objects have they taken with them? Why do you think Stanley has taken his stick with him? Read the first page together again. Do you like how this sounds? Can you read it in the rhythm of the train pulling in to the station, like this?: ‘So here is Stanley // standing on the station //taking his stick // for a short stay //at the side of the sea // with his mum and dad…The train pulls in.’ Which words do you like best? Why?

2. Illustrate it

Think about what happens in between Stanley standing at the station and being down at the sea. If you were to add a page between these two, where Stanley was on the train, what would it look like? What would he see outside of the window? Have you ever been on a train journey? What was it like inside? Where did you sit? What sounds did you hear? What views did you see outside the widow? When you have thought about your ideas carefully, draw your new page showing Stanley’s train journey to the seaside. You can view a film depicting a similar train route to Stanley’s here, if you need some ideas:

3. Talk about it 

  • Why do you think Stanley and his family go to the beach for a short stay?
  • What do you think they will do there?
  •  What is Stanley thinking by the side of the sea? What do you think he will do next?
  • Have you ever been on a train ride before? Where did you go? What was it like?
  •  Have you ever visited the seaside? Where was it? What did you do while you were there? 
  • If you haven’t ever visited the seaside, would you like to go? Why or why not?

4. Imagine it

Look at the way Stanley has been drawn with his stick in different places. How do you think he feels about his stick? How would you describe his stick? How would Stanley describe it? What words would he use? Look at him running with his stick under the tree. What else would he do with his stick? How might he play with it? What about on the beach? What fun could he have with it there? Draw pictures of Stanley playing with his stick in different ways at home or on the beach. Share your ideas with someone else.

5. Create it

Can you find a special stick in your garden or outdoors? Make sure it is one that is on the ground. What does it look like? How would you describe it? What could you use it for? Can you use it to do a job, like drawing in the mud or can you imagine that your stick is something else, like a magic wand, an aeroplane. Maybe you could use different craft materials to turn it into something else entirely, like a stick person, a dinosaur or animal. Take photos of you with your special stick and talk or write to someone else to tell them all about it. This CBeebies Junk Rescue episode shares how to make a photograph frame, a star decoration and a magic wand out of twigs and other simple craft materials – you might want to try these out:

Stanley's Stick