Early in the pandemic, Michael Rosen got very ill with Covid. This smashing children’s picture book charts his recovery and the friends who helped him get better. These include not only the NHS staff, and his supportive family, but also his faithful walking stick, Sticky McStickstick.
Tony Ross’s sensitive and lively illustration is the perfect match for Rosen’s account of his recovery. From being able to get out of bed, to walking, to going upstairs and making a cup of tea, the recovery is long but each stage is celebrated. I find it so cheering that Rosen salutes the things that help him move around more: a wheelchair, a walking frame and finally Sticky. The subtitle says it all: The Friend Who Helped Me Walk Again. Sticky has a lot of personality.
From the poet who brought you These are the Hands, a song of gratitude to the NHS, it is no surprise that Rosen gives all credit due to the staff who saved his life and then helped him to recover as best he could. This would be a good book for explaining serious illness and recovery to children, but also for anyone going through it themselves. Like the best children’s books, this is really for everyone. He deals well with fear, and also with keeping on trying. “Maybe you’ve been ill. Or maybe you know someone who’s been ill. When we’re ill, we change, don’t we? And then we do what we can to get better. People help us.”