Sterling and the Canary by Andy Stanton

A quick read, but a very enjoyable one!

Sterling and the Canary by Andy Stanton

Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd
ISBN: 9781842999059
Published: 15/6/2011

Sterling is the most popular guy in school. He’s the best at sports, he’s the best looking, even the teachers like him – he’s IT. But then the New Girl, Lizzie Harris, arrives, and Sterling thinks she is absolutely brilliant and the one for him. And what girl could say no to such a handsome chappy as Sterling? So, he does the natural thing and walks over to Lizzie to ask her out but then, the unthinkable happens – she says no! Or at least, she says no unless Sterling can master maths. Being sadly rather like me and a wee bit pants when it comes to numbers, Sterling has to concede defeat, even though his best friend Doctor Edward Macintosh tries to help him (yes, that is her first name). He stomps off in a huff, leaving Doctor Edward Macintosh behind, and proceeds to feel very sorry for himself and his Lizzie Harris-less state. Imagine his surprise then, when he stumbles upon a canary, which proceeds to take him to task for not minding himself . Handily though it also claims to be a bit of a whizz when it comes to numbers and agrees to lend Sterling a hand in his quest to win fair lady’s… erm…. regard? Will Stirling be successful, or will the canary turn out to be a bird with a big mouth?

*snort* *giggle* *snigger* That was pretty much me at various points in this read. I love the phrasing, for a start. I mean, a girl who has arms ‘as wonderful as rainbows’? A boy who can kick a football so hard  ‘that when it came back down it had a sun-tan’? I love the characters too, Doctor Edward Macintosh being my favourite if only because I love the reason for her name (which I am sneakily not going to tell you). For a chap with such popularity behind him, Sterling is very likeable even in the midst of snit when he can’t get his sums right, but above all, there’s a talking canary!

I shouldn’t be surprised this was such a giggle – after all, Andy Stanton is the chappy who brought the world Mr Gum, whose silly mean-spirited adventures certainly brought a grin to my face when I poked my nose into one recently, and have been doing so with most of the children I help out too.

I snickered my way through this from the start to the ending, which I did not see coming at all, oddly enough. It’s also worth mentioning that this book is illustrated BRILLIANTLY by Ross Collins. My favourite is of a dejected Sterling, his big blond quiff drooping in the rain (because it always rains shortly after the girl you should go out with has just told you to get lost, of course).

So, lots of snickering, great pictures, silly words and phrases; this is a book you really should get a peek at. Oh, by the way, congratties to all you eagle-eyed readers who spotted that this is a Barrington Stoke book which means of course that it’s suitable for dyslexic readers too (reading age of 8, interest age 9+). But fear not non-dyslexic readers! It’s still ok to read for non-dyslexics; after all, if I can cope with reading it (I am definitely not 9, in case you were pondering), I’m fairly sure Sterling and the Canary is open to all! If you don’t believe me, Barrington Stoke have produced teaching resources so that a whole class can use the book, so it’s definately not just for dyslexic readers. Treat yourself to a giggle and go find it!

Find the book here, as well as resources here for teachers.


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