Who is Flat Stanley?!

“I have a book for you,” announced Reggie this evening, as she came into my snug little garden flat to say goodnight, waving a large but rather thin book in one hand.

“What is it?” I asked, curious. “May I see it?”

“It is a very special book, which I found for you in the Children’s Section at the Pinelands Library. It’s called ‘Flat Stanley‘,” she explained.

Ohh! This sounded exciting. I wondered whether Flat Stanley is a bit like me?

“Would you like me to read it to you?” she asked.

“Oh yes, that would be lovely. Do you think Gilbert the G’Nome might like to hear the story too?” I inquired tentatively. I like Gilbert. He’s a little pedantic about the correct pronunciation of words (and particularly of his name, GILbert the G’Nome with a hard ‘G’) but he always has a warm and friendly smile. And he’s an excellent listener.

“I’ll fetch him,” said Reggie, with a cheeky grin.

A moment later, she was back, and Gilbert and I settled down on the sleeper couch to listen to the story.

We listen attentively, as Reggie reads us the story of Flat Stanley
We listen attentively, as Reggie reads us the story of Flat Stanley

What a wonderful story it was! Full of adventure and danger and excitement!

Stanley Lambchop (yes, really, that’s his name!) was a normal little boy just like any other little boys, when the big noticeboard above his bed fell ontop of him one night, and flattened him. Unlike most parents, his didn’t seem to be too perturbed. Nor was his brother Arthur.

He had some great adventures: I particularly liked the one where he was put in an envelope (with a sandwich, please note! – my friends just stuffed me in an envelope and forgot to add any food to sustain me on my long journey – outrageous!) and airmailed to his friend Thomas in California, where he had a wonderful time.

Flat Stanley travels by airmail to his friend Thomas in California
Flat Stanley travels by airmail to his friend Thomas in California

I didn’t so much like the adventure where he flew like a kite and then got tangled up in a tree… Though the story where he captured some sneaky art thieves in the Famous Museum of Art was riveting! I’m sure I could be that brave too! Clearly, Flat Stanley is a kindred spirit.

It is a cold night, with raindrops pattering against the windows; I am glad to have Gilbert for company.
It is a cold night, with raindrops pattering against the windows; I am glad to have Gilbert for company.

“Arr zerr mohr stories about Flat Stanley?” asked Gilbert in his funny German accent.

“Yes, I believe there are,” replied Reggie. “Unfortunately, our library only has the original one, which is this one.”

But… ,”  she continued, pausing dramatically for effect, “I found out something really interesting about Flat Stanley. Apparently, there is a worldwide Flat Stanley Project, where schoolchildren make a Flat Stanley out of paper, and they colour it in and draw a face on it. Then they send their Flat Stanley to other children around the world; those other children take pictures of the places they’ve been with the visiting Flat Stanley, and so the kids write to each other. It’s supposed to increase literacy and encourage reading and writing. There are also some online versions of doing this via email and the internet, rather than by airmail.”

“Oh, that is such an awesome project,” I cried, getting quite excited.

“Yes, Flat Kathy, I thought you might like it,” said Reggie, with a wink, as she tucked us in for the night.


9 thoughts on “Who is Flat Stanley?!

  1. Oh my gosh, it has been so much fun following your adventures in South Africa, FK. You are positively glowing, adventuring most obviously suits you. Please give Reggie our warmest regards, she is a most excellent host and tour guide!

    And thank you for introducing us to Flat Stanley. I think our grandkids are going to like him very much 🙂

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    1. Hello Colleen, I have passed on your kind wishes to Reggie. Yes, I agree, she and Richard are excellent hosts. Do you know that I’ve even grown to like their pizza without cheese?! It’s quite extraordinary how one adapts to life in another country.

      Oh, you should definitely read Flat Stanley to your grandkids. I hope you can find all the other stories written about Flat Stanley too; such a pity, we can’t find them here!

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  2. Dear F.K., I have squished a lovely ham and cheese sandwich, slathered with mayonnaise into an envelope and popped it in the mail to you. Should be there in a week or two.

    Loved hearing about Flat Stanley.

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    1. Oooh… that is so gracious of you, Sybil.

      But I think it might go off a bit before it reaches South Africa. The mail is frightfully slow here…

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    1. Hello Amy-Lynn – oh, yes, I was reading about that too! I think the female version is called ‘Flat Stella’, is that right? I was so excited to read about this project!

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    1. Oh, how fascinating! Jock of the Bushveld, eh? I’ve heard that is very famous book. So that fame must be rubbing off on you too. You can be so proud of your ancestry, Rosie Bear!

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