Observer Graphic Novel of the Month
Collecting Sticks is a graphic novel about a family glamping trip. (It’s like camping, but much more expensive.) Loosely based on actual events, but sometimes veering unexpectedly into fantasy, the story plays with the challenges nature presents to city folk as they forage for berries, get stuck up a tree, make perilous encounters with stinging wildlife, compete to build the best fire and discover the importance of finding good sticks. Also, it rains. It’s about the human desire to get back to nature. Or to return to childhood and hit things with sticks.
Funny, moving, beautifully drawn, Collecting Sticks can stand beside Joff Winterhart’s classic graphic novel of family life, Days of the Bagnold Summer.
Collecting Sticks is very well observed. Decie conveys the family dynamic persuasively, and the book will ring true to curators of small children. It's a quick read, with a dry sense of humour. -- Pete Redrup * Quietus * To be honest, it made me laugh out loud! -- Maria Argueta * Brighton Journal * There's undoubtedly something magical about a camping trip...this magic has been captured in Collecting Sticks. -- Andy Shaw * MYM Magazine * Decie is a fine chronicler of life - the nonsensical conversations, boredom, in-jokes, little kindnesses and familiar anxieties. His drawings have a lovely sense of how people move and talks... An affectionate, nuanced tale. -- James Smart * Guardian * What makes it work is its very ordinary notion of life's small pleasures. Life is not always played out at operatic level. Sometimes it's little more than a whisper. -- Teddy Jamieson * Herald * I love this book. It's a lot like real life, just a bit more interesting. -- Joff Winterhart The story of Collecting Sticks is moved along with great charm by Decie's young son, whose commentary throughout is the best representation of spending time with a child I have ever seen in comics. The rhythms of conversation and movement in this book are so delightful because they are so real. It is a book that will remind you of the best things in your life, the small things we don't have to worry about because we are safe and loved. -- Kate Beaton Decie so perfectly captures the nuanced intimacies of the family unit... The parental love in this book is understated, and all the more poignant for the way it is gently folded into the fabric of these familial interactions... The overarching impression given by Collecting Sticks is one of authenticity. -- Lucy Scholes * The Times Literary Supplement * A lovingly foraged show-and-tell of the quiet humour and tiny heartbreaks that lie beneath day-to-day parenthood. Joe Decie is a master of his craft. -- Stephen Collins Tent and Primus stove fanatics may want to give it a miss; ditto enthusiastic Scout leaders, and those who even in middle age ache inside at the merest thought of Glastonbury. But if you're still scarred by camping holidays you endured as a kid - I know I am - then this singular, funny book is for you. -- Rachel Cooke * Observer Graphic Novel of the Month * This wonderfully well-observed graphic novel from cartoonist Decie is a must for anyone diving into the great outdoors this summer. -- Zoe Apostolides * Daily Telegraph *
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