By Author / Illustrator
Family & Home
Walker Books Ltd
Paperback / softback
Stitch Discussion Guide: A compelling, atmospheric and gothic Frankenstein-inspired adventure.
Stitch is not a monster - he's a creation. He and his friend Henry Oaf were brought to life by the genius Professor Hardacre, and have spent all their days in a castle deep in the woods, far from humankind. But when the Professor dies and his pompous nephew comes to take over the laboratory, they soon find out that his sights are set not on scientific discovery, but personal glory. And Henry is his next experiment. Can Stitch and Henry escape his clutches and make their way in a world they were never built for - and may never be ready for them?
A magnificent gothic adventure full of heart for ages 8+. "A thrilling gothic adventure, brimming with heart and bursting with big questions. I loved it." Lucy Strange. Find out more in our Q&A with Padraig Kenny
Clumsy, excitable and loveable Henry lives in a castle with his friend, Stitch. Both characters are the creations of the professor, who has pieced them together from dead body parts as part of an experiment. When the professor dies, his nephew, Hardacre, arrives, determined to understand and to improve upon his uncle's creations. Henry runs from the castle in fear and the adventure truly begins.
Stitch is a powerful journey of friendship, loyalty, acceptance and understanding. Through the innocent eyes of Stitch, the reader is prompted to consider what it means to be different. Stitch does not understand why he and Henry should be considered to be outsiders because of their differences when "It doesn't matter what you're made from, it doesn't matter where you came from, all that matters is that you are a good person."
Stitch's naivety is beautifully thought-provoking; his idealistic, innocent view will leave the reader with much to consider. "I don't know much about the world…but I have noticed that people use words such as 'freak' and 'monster' when they encounter someone they perceive to be different. But…everybody is different." Whilst the professor may have used lightning to give life to Henry and Stich, they are powered by love and friendship; neither creation needs adaptation or improvement, they are both perfect just the way that they are, fuelled by the goodness in their hearts.
Padraig Kenny has, yet again, written a beautiful story with wonderful, noble characters whose untainted view of the world serves as a resounding message to all. I loved Stitch and the themes within this heart-warming tale will remain with me for a long time. As a note of caution - there are references to death, dead pets and the use of dead bodies, which might disturb sensitive readers.
208 pages / Reviewed by Jo Clarke, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+
Stitch and his friend, Henry Oaf, were created by the genius Professor Hardacre, and live in his castle. Stitch is gentle; Henry is large and cannot control his strength. When the Professor dies, his evil nephew, Giles, comes to take over the laboratory. Giles wants to continue his uncle's work, and has his own reasons for wanting to create new life, but when he tries to use Henry in his experiments, Stitch is horrified and refuses to help. A terrified Henry runs away from the castle so, with the help of Giles Hardacre's assistant, Alice, Stitch sets off into the outside world for the first time in search of his friend. Stitch has always wanted to be an explorer, but soon discovers that the world can be a frightening place when people judge you by your appearance and see you as a monster.
Stitch is a fabulous gothic adventure novel, inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The author introduces us to a glorious cast of characters who teach us about acceptance, kindness and the importance of friendship. Stitch is wonderfully optimistic. He believes that there is good in the world and is unfailingly loyal to his friend, Henry. He tells us that judging a person by their appearance is unfair, because people are not responsible for how they look. He knows that he and Henry are made up of bits and pieces of dead people, but says that they are still people, who have as much right to be in the world as anyone else.
Alice is also different; she has a hunched back and is an orphan who was taken in by Giles Hardacre. Her life has been hard and she blossoms as she befriends Stitch and Henry. We also meet Gregor, another of the Professor's creations, who has been sent to recapture the runaways but ends up becoming their friend, helping Stitch and Alice to rescue Henry from the villagers who believe he is a monster.
Stitch is beautifully written and conveys its very important messages in a highly readable way. It is not a long book, but in the hands of this talented author not a single word is wasted. The chapter in which Stitch speaks to the terrified villagers is brilliant. Stitch is so calm and logical that the villagers find themselves being won over, and we find ourselves realising that Stitch and Henry are not the "monsters" in this story.
The overriding message is that it does not matter what you may look like. What is important is being a good person, doing the right thing, and standing up for your friends. As Stitch says, "Everybody is different, and this is what makes the world such a curious and interesting place". Padraig Kenny has managed to wrap up a vitally important message in a thrilling adventure story. I believe that this is an important book which will be read and enjoyed - on many different levels - by children and adults alike. Highly recommended.
208 pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 9+
Stitch is a boy who was made, literally stitched together as his name suggests. Along with his friend Henry, he lives with the Professor in a castle and counts the days since he 'woke up'. One day, when everything changes, the Professor's nephew comes calling and Stitch finds that sometimes difference is not so good and that some lives seem to count for less than others. He and Henry have to escape the castle and enter a world where they might be feared for their difference.
Padraig Kenny is one of my favourite children's authors (Tin is still an all-time favourite book) and I admit to bias when reading his work. There is also that concern that you will not enjoy the book as much as previous books. No need for worry; this book is just as good.
Sitch is a short book, particularly when compared to The Monsters of Rookhaven, but it packs a punch. Kenny is sticking with his familiar themes of difference and what makes someone human, and he has also channelled ideas of Frankenstein's monster and how people can sometimes be the monsters.
Stitch is beautifully written and as I read it, I wondered how much of the inference some children might get; it is a deceptively simple story. Not that this is a problem; it is nice to read a book that can work on so many levels. I loved this book, and I would use it in class to look into deeper meaning of text as well as the big concepts of difference and humanity. I feel very privileged to have read a very early proof.
208 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+