Fiction

Stick

It's just an old stick. Or is it?
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Written and illustrated by Michael J. Rosen

Searching for the perfect thing for Tripp to fetch, I found this magic stick. It’s smooth. It’s strong. The bark’s all gone. At one end, there’s a big knob with a hole. It’s almost as tall as I am. It’s like a yardstick of me. I can measure how close I come to anything!

Hannah! Look what I’ve got!

A stick?

A stick that’s … a telescope. Look through its hole: There’s the moon ready to light up the night.

I don’t see anything … but a stick.

Then … look through the other side. It’s a magnifying glass! Zoom in on these tiny ants.

It’s still a stick.

Hey, Aly! This staff I found has the most powerful powers!

Like what?

Whatever you want! Be a conductor, and it’s your baton! And … those starlings in that tree are your choir.

Birds won’t sing because you wave a stick.

Then … you decide! It can be your giant flute! Or a bow for your violin.

Except — it’s just a stick.

Hey, Tomas! Pitch me your fastest ball! (Just pretend!) I’ll pop it into the air. You catch it on the fly!

But that’s just a dumb old stick.

Or … you be the goalie and I’ll be the hockey forward …

— with a dumb old stick. Later.

Ahoy there, Andy! Climb aboard the pirate ship — you be captain. I’ll work the sails.

What pirate ship? That’s just your jacket waving on a stick.

Misake, want to be the Forest Queen? I can be your sorcerer. If you make a wish, my wand can grant it!

Then I wish …

— wish for anything! A miniature horse … that flies? A diamond crown?

I wish … your stick weren’t just a stick.

Look! The first lightning bugs are blinking in the field! If you hold the stick across your shoulders, you change into a bat!

Who wants to chase the lights with me? You can borrow my wings!

You can stick around. We’re going inside.

Hey, Jonnie! Let’s pretend we’ve joined the circus! I’ve got the pole for inside the big-top tent.

All you’ve got is a stick. That’s no circus!

But it can be anything like … a tightrope …

Let me see it. Yeah, it’s just a stick … a stick for sticking people.

No, it’s not! It’s my magic stick! Quit it! Quit sticking me!

Why? That’s what sticks do.

They don’t have to! You took my stick. Now I don’t have one!

CRACK!

Here: Now we both have sticks. We can battle!

I don’t want half! I don’t want to battle. I want the whole stick that I found.

There’s Jenna and Hallie. Let’s go stick them!

Just give it back! Stop it! That’s no fun.

No fair! You two have sticks and we don’t.

That half isn’t even his!

Give me yours!

CRACK! CRACK!

Now we all have sticks.

I don’t want part of a stick! What good’s a little stick? I want the whole one that I found.

Forget it! Keep your stupid sticks.

Now what? It’s just the three of us. And four sticks. They’re too small to do … anything. I think the magic’s broken.

What if they’re drumsticks?

They’re microphones, and we’re news reporters!

They might be bones we just discovered on our dig! Or … hey, Tripp! Look what I found: four perfect fetching sticks!

Michael J. Rosen has written more than 150 books, including award winners Sailing the Unknown: Around the World with Captain Cook, Mind-Boggling Numbers and others.

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