Sticky McStickStick

Publisher: Walker Books

In March 2020, Michael Rosen became ill with Covid-19 and was admitted to hospital. He was so ill that the doctors put him in an induced coma for 47 days.

When Michael woke up, he had to learn to walk again, and this picture book chronicles his recovery at a rehabilitation hospital and his eventual return to his family with his walking stick, which he names Sticky McStickStick.

Despite telling the story of a scary and difficult time for Michael, in Sticky McStickStick he manages to tell the honest story of what happened to him accessibly for children, using his trademark directness and sense of humour. There’s no shying away from the fact that Michael begins the book being very ill – Tony Ross’ opening pages show him almost blue in the face, weak and confined to bed. Yet, as the pages turn, we start to see Michael’s colour return and him start whizzing around the hospital corridors in a wheelchair, followed by him being sent home with Sticky McStickStick, his loyal friend.

Sticky McStickStick is similar to Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, illustrated by Quentin Blake, in which Rosen chronicles his experience of losing his son Eddie to meningitis. In both books, he is open and honest about how the experiences feel, allowing children and families to have a space in which to talk about difficult topics.

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