THE STICK, by. Clay Rice from Cook Productions on Vimeo.
"An immediate comparison to The Giving Tree (1964) springs to mind as a result of the arboreal nature of both tales, but this one is not as divisive. Intricately cut scenes of black, with blazing backgrounds of oranges and purples, invite close inspection and awe. Careful readers might even spot the stick on the very first page. What could come across as saccharine is given weight and beauty by both art and heart."
Striking silhouette artwork and elegant typography distinguish Rice's ode to the power of imagination. He cuts black paper into intricate scenes of play and adventure, framing them within majestic landscapes, dreamy sunsets, and blue dusks. In a Cinderellalike opening, Rice (Mama, Let's Make a Moon) introduces a boy who has no toys and sits alone under a spreading tree while other neighborhood children play. Then he finds a stick under a tree—a big stick, a special stick, with a rhyme carved into it: "Imagination lives in you./ It's the fire in all you do./ Use it well, and you can be/ anything you want to be." The stick opens up new worlds as the boy imagines he's a pirate, a baseball player, and a knight. He keeps the stick, grows up with the power of vision, prospers, and then, as an old man, finds a girl who doesn't have any toys and leaves the stick under the tree for her. Families and educators seeking wholesome entertainment will gravitate toward this old-fashioned moral tale. Ages 2–8.
—Cevin Bryerman, Vice President / Publisher, Publishers Weekly
"A great talent who combines soul and passion."