Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It's Only Stanley by Jon Agee

It's Only Stanley by Jon Agee
Dial Books for Young Readers

Rating: 5 stars

I subscribe to a handful of book-filled, kidlit newsletters; many of them include a "books coming out soon" section. It's Only Stanley has been on many of those lists for many weeks. So when it popped up on the holds shelf in the library yesterday, I was curious if it was going to be as good as the hype surrounding it.

Yup, it is.

Jon Agee has this absurd, dry humor that manages to stick with his characters and translate to a picture book in such impressive ways... He makes the totally crazy seem totally normal. And even if you don't deconstruct the book like I did after reading it, you will chuckle at it and your child will likely laugh out loud at it, just like Kiefer did. Each time he had this read to him last night. Which was twice. In a row. That's always a good sign of a good book...

Here's the story:

The Wimbleton family sleeps, and one by one a strange sound wakes them up. Each time, the extraordinary family dog, Stanley, is making the noise. And Stanley is one nocturnal, productive pup. Judging by the father's shrugs and nonchalant reaction, the family is clearly used to such noisy awakenings.

First, Wilma is awoken by a strange tune...but it's just Stanley, howling at the moon. Daughter Wendy then hears one loud CLANK...but it's just Stanley, fixing the oil tank.

"It's only Stanley," Walter said.
"He cleared the bathtub drain."
This goes on all night long, and each sound wakes another member of the family, who travels into the parents' room and into their bed, until the bed is funnily overcrowded with more and more sleepy Wimbleton family members.

Finally, he wakes up the youngest member of the family with some serious vibrations and sounds. Turns out that Stanley managed to transform the entire house into a rocket, and now the house--with the whole family--still in pajamas--is landing on the moon.

Told in a great little rhyme that makes the book even more fun to read aloud (and also allows Kiefer and other kids to guess what Stanley is up to), this book is spot-on fantastic. Such a funny story with non-fussy sketches that pair nicely with bedtime--how can you not have sweet dreams when you chuckle yourself to sleep?

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