The Clever Stick

The Clever Stick is a quiet fable about a stick, who has always been clever and been able to think many wonderful thoughts. But the stick has one problem – he can’t speak. So he cannot share his thoughts with any of the forest creatures he meets.

In the tradition of A Froggy Fable, The Clever Stick follows the most unlikely of heroes on a journey of self-discovery, arriving at a place that will surprise and enchant readers of all ages. It is a story about creativity, about self-expression, and about finding your voice.

Clever Sticky Activities
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Download a Clever Stick Classroom Guide
including activities and discussion questions

Purchase The Clever Stick from an independent bookseller.

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“In this uplifting fable, a clever stick longs to express himself but, mute, can’t find a way to make his thoughts understood.”

– The Horn Book

“Our best gifts, Lechner seems to say, may not lie where we expect, but it is only in their pursuit that we find ourselves.”

– Publisher’s Weekly

“Lechner keeps up the infectious good cheer even when it rains, for the happy stick now knows how to express himself.”

– Booklist

“I’m tempted to say that ‘The Clever Stick’ is a clever book, but it’s more than that. It’s insightful and inspirational as well, and it avoids the false echo of self-importance that so often crops up in books that deal with metaphor.”

– Journal Inquirer

“A story about self expression, self discovery, finding your voice and making your mark. This is a story that speaks to children, encouraging and allowing them to experience free expression, enhance talents & gifts that will be mastered into adolescence and adulthood.”

– Examiner

Pages from The Clever Stick by John Lechner


“I read The Clever Stick as part of a unit related to nature. The other great thing about the book is that our school supports children with autism spectrum disorders, and reading and discussing The Clever Stick was a great opportunity for the children to connect to the many ways that people communicate. It also helped them understand how difficult it is for those who have a hard time communicating. So thanks for the great book!”

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“I’m in the Masters program for Speech Language Pathology at UW-Madison, and wanted to tell you how special I think The Clever Stick is. […] its message of joyful self-expression by atypical means is very powerful to one who works with those who struggle to communicate in a typically-functioning world.”

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Clever Stick artwork by students
Inspired by how The Clever Stick finds his own talent, one elementary classroom drew pictures of their own talents, including art, making desserts, and skateboarding.

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