Stuck

By Oliver Jeffers

I adore Oliver Jeffers. The librarian in my post before me ordered a ton of his books, and they were the best thing she could have left me. The most recent Jeffers book I read to my students was, of course, Stuck.

Stuck is about (hold onto your socks!) things getting stuck in a tree. It all starts when Floyd gets his kite stuck in a tree. The trouble really begins when Floyd throws his favorite shoe to knock down the kite, and that gets stuck as well… and it goes on from there, getting larger and more ridiculous as time goes on. It’s so much fun when they pull back to show the full tree, stuffed with everything from kites to whales to cats and shoes. It looks so absurd you can’t help but laugh. It also made one of the teachers laugh out loud at one page – that’s the mark of a good book; it appeals to a huge range of ages.

The artwork is typical of all Jeffers books: simple lines that border on stick-figure-ness, but with lovely colour work. The simplicity means that students don’t get too distracted by unnecessary lines, and they can focus on the tons of things getting tossed up a tree to knock down a kite. Rather than details, Jeffers shows his emphasis on size – things grow bigger and bigger and more impossible. There’s still lots of white space to ensure that there’s space to give the kids a breath, again allowing them to focus on the pictures. The font might pose a small problem to encouraging kids to read – it’s done in a large, semi-cursive, pencil-esque font that might be difficult for children that haven’t learned cursive yet. But they’ll love watching the pictures while you read to them.

I enjoy playing a game with my students, getting them to count the number of times the tree changes colour, or how many items Floyd throws up. There are so many things to do with Jeffers’ books – so many things to look at and explore in his artwork. The story itself as simple – but don’t think of it as simple. There is so much hidden in the images, things to make you laugh and appreciate it more.

Pick this book up – and maybe a few others! Your kids will thank you, and you will enjoy them just as much.

Suggested Ages: 6-9

(Please note that he does not read all the pages in this video; some of the best parts are missing. Go buy that book!!)

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