Twig – Aura Parker – Scholastic – Published November 2016
Finding friends isn’t easy when no one can find you!
One, two, three. One, two three.
Why won’t someone play with me?
Heidi is a stick insect, long and thin like the twig of a tree. It’s her first day at Bug School, where she hopes to learn lots and make new friends. But no one will talk to her . . . and no one will play with her at lunch. No one notices her at all – not even her teacher Miss Orb. Perhaps she’s blending in with the branches a little too well! Finally, Heidi speaks up for herself and Miss Orb comes up with a plan to help Heidi stand out.
Aura Parker’s winsome illustrations are a pure delight. Kids of all ages will pore over the adorable details and enjoy the numbers and counting elements throughout the story. The endpapers are a delight and each includes a search-and-find activity.
I fell in love with this picture book when I first saw the end pages. I didn’t even need to read the story or flick through further to know it was going to be a gorgeous book.
Are you a bit different from those around you? Do you stand out? Or maybe you are so different no one even sees you? That’s the problem Heidi has. No one sees her. Heidi is tall and thin, just like the twig of a tree. It is her first day of school, but it is hard to make friends when no one notices you in the playground and you can’t join in the classroom activities if no one knows you’re there.
I think so many readers can relate to not fitting in, standing out or being different. Twig captures all those feelings of isolation and translates them into a beautiful story. Heidi is a stick insect and her first day at bug school gives her many challenges to face – like her teacher Miss Orb placing her weaving kit on the hatstand, or what she mistakes as the hatstand which is actually Heidi! There is also a touch of humour and lessons in friendship, kindness, and patience. Heidi often takes deep breathes and repeats “One, two, three. One, two, three. Why won’t someone play with me?”
The watercolour illustrations are gorgeous, bright, colourful, and whimsical. Soft backgrounds in golden browns and pale greens create the perfect backdrop for the bright greens of the leaves, and royal blues, patterned reds, and gold and black of the insect characters. Readers will also enjoy trying to find Heidi in the full, double-span illustrations, where she camouflages against the trees. And the end pages, which are just as richly illustrated as the images within, also include a search and find.
Twig is a delightful story of friendship, fitting in, differences, and the first day at school, which encourages celebrating difference and finding each person’s – or in this case insect’s – special talents.
Category: Children’s Fiction, Picture Books
Themes: First day of school, friendship, nature, insects, differences.
Reading age guide: Ages 3 and up.
Published: November 2016 by Scholastic
Format: Hardcover. 32 pages.