If an ice-pop stick can dream of being a horse, what magic might follow? A fanciful tale by Russell Hoban, mischievously illustrated by Quentin Blake.
Once its icy sweetness is gone, a discarded ice-pop stick is lonely until young Rosie comes by and lays it in a cigar box with others like it. But this stick wants to be something! Meanwhile, just before bed, Rosie sees her parents worrying over their bills. That night, wishes intertwine when Rosie dreams of a horse named Stickerino galloping out of the cigar box. “Where to?” he asks. “Anywhere with treasure!” says Rosie. A girl and a horse galloping over cities, jungles, and an icepop mountain leads up to a clever heist of a gold-filled pirate chest — and a happy ending at home — in this wildly imaginative adventure.
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Blake collaborated with Hoban on the Whitbread-winning How Tom Beat Captain Najork and other titles, and his ink-and-watercolor drawings are as antic as ever. Rosie’s house is cozy and lived-in, with old drawings on the wall, and toys and books crowding her dresser. The pirate scenes are crammed with cheerful chaos, and the light, weightlessness, and long horizons of Stickerino’s flight make the impossible seem close. Hoban’s books asked big questions, and the answers were sometimes murky and mournful, but this last one is a happy farewell salute. —Publishers Weekly (starred review)