Children’s Book Week Review – We’re Stuck

Link to Catalogue record for We're Stuck

We’re Stuck by Sue deGennaro

This book was part of the Shortlist for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Awards – Early Childhood

Turtle needs to get to the shop. It is important that he isn’t late. When he races into the lift of Building 24 with all the busy people, 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 doctor’s appointment. And Turtle really, really needs to get to the shop.

As I’m writing this, tomorrow is my birthday and this book struck a cord with me as a result because this book also occurs on Turtle’s birthday.

Building 24 is having a normal day, everyone has somewhere to be and everyone is in a rush to get there. On the first page we see the whole building and everyone in their own apartments but then it moves to the lift and that’s where the rest of the story happens. Even though everyone has somewhere to be, something to do, and needs to be there soon, the lift stops working and they are all STUCK!

Everyone in the book is stuck in the lift and they are in such a rush, they want to be rescued as soon as possible.

Then, they find out it’s Turtle’s birthday and their perspective shifts.

It’s bad enough to be stuck in a lift when you have an appointment or are late for work…somewhere to be. But, to be stuck there on your birthday! How terrible. So, they all come together to make the situation a little better, to celebrate the moment and make this terrible situation a party instead.

What happens next is a great celebration of a birthday but also the way we are able to take an unexpected incident and turn it into a wonderful experience. So often, when we’re busy we don’t see the world around us (whether that’s the people we are sharing space with or the situation of others around us). This book is a great reminder that it’s so important to notice others and to allow for a little spontaneity in our lives.

It’s something of a joke in my family that my birthday always turns into a bit of a disaster – illness, injury, etc. but perhaps I just need to take a note of the message of this story and find a way to make it a fun day even with a chest infection 🙂 I will certainly endeavour to keep this book in mind tomorrow when I turn one year older.

This book is a great one to share with all children, because sometimes the routine of our lives does make it hard to remember to take that moment to metaphorically smell the roses, and it’s always good to be reminded that a bad situation doesn’t need to be terrible and we can make the most of it with a little help from those around us. This year, perhaps more than others, has given us many opportunities to put the messages in this book to practise.

I hope you enjoy We’re Stuck! as much as I did.