Not A Stick Promotes Creative Thinking in Children


Not A Stick written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis, tells the story of a pig who imagines new uses for a stick. The minimalist illustrations engage children’s imaginations and prompt discovery of the hidden stick within each picture. Readers can use their imaginations to discover how else a stick can be used. This picture book promotes imaginative and flexible thinking.

TITLE: Not A Stick

AUTHOR: Antoinette Portis

ILLUSTRATOR: Antoinette Portis

PUBLISHER: HarperCollinsPublishers, 2008

AGE GROUP: preschool-elementary

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: flexibility, imagination, inventive

A major tenet of creativity is flexible thinking. One aspect of flexible thinking is being able to look at something and see how it can be used in a manner other than it was originally designed.  Ask the question – What else can this do?


1) Ask children to think of other ways a stick can be used. Children can illustrate their ideas to add to the book ending.

2) As a group or individually, have children create their own flexible thinking book. Ask what other things can we think of that would have different uses – popsicle sticks, pencils, twist ties, forks, etc. Then, each child develops a list of alternate uses for the item they chose and illustrates them.


To learn more about Antoinette Portis, visit:

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