“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.
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.
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.
“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.