We’re Stuck – Sue deGennaro – Scholastic Australia – Published 1 April 2019
When Turtle races into the lift of Building 24, there is a nod and a blink and a step to the side. A grunt and a sigh and a lean to the right. But what happens when the lift stops moving?
Crocodile has a meeting to get to. And Giraffe has a doctors appointment. And Turtle really, really needs to get to the shop.
A beautiful story about community and connections in a busy, moving world. We’re Stuck forces its characters to stop and connect. Together, they must work through their problems and they discover they actually have everything they need. They also join forces to brighten someone else’s day.
Do you know your neighbours? Many of us, especially those living in crowded cities and multi-storey apartment buildings pass one another each day without stopping to say hello or share names or stories.
In We’re Stuck, one day, Turtle is racing to the lift. He has a very important list and he needs to get to the shops and back to his mum. In Building 24, the residents often meet in the lift. They shuffle and move over to let in Crocodile, who needs to get to a meeting, Giraffe who is on the way to the doctors, Lion is due for a haircut and Hippo needs to get the cafe open. But then, suddenly the lift stops. The residents of Building of 24 are STUCK! Much commotion ensues. They are busy and important people with important places to go to and people to meet. But Turtle sits quietly and sadly says it’s his birthday. The others in the lift quickly rally. Balloons made from rubber gloves and fishing line are stung and paper hats are made. But the group also discover that, if they work together, they can solve the others’ problems. Doctor Crocodile takes a look at Giraffe, and whale offers to cut Lion’s hair.
The illustrations are soft and use faded tone, with brighter pops of colour highlighting the characters. I was surprised and delighted when I turned to the first page and promptly had to rotate the book to look at the double page spread of the building, with each floor showing each of the busy residents.
In our busy world, this is a timely story and message to slow down and check in with your neighbours and to connect. The story is also fun, with the firemen coming to join the party, once they break into the stuck lift.
We’re Stuck has been short listed for the CBCA Book of the Year Early Childhood 2020.
Find more about the author on her website.
Category: Children’s fiction
Themes: Community; friendship; bravery in adversity; dealing with disappointment; neighbourhoods; city living; hope; kindness.
Reading age guide: Ages 4 to 7.
Published: 1 April 2019 by Scholastic Australia.
Format: Hardcover. 32 pages.