Book Review: Stanley’s Party (2003)

Posted: January 24, 2010 in Book/Music/Film Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

Annotation

Stanley, a mischievous golden retriever is left home alone. Not only does Stanley get up to all kinds of hi-jinks, he decides to share his newfound freedom with friends. The fun can’t last forever and Stanley’s people are bound to come home…

Review

Stanley’s Party
Written by Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Kids Can Press, 2003
9781553373827 (hc) $16.95 CDN
For ages 4-8
Picture Book – Family – Dogs

Behold the tale of one rather mischievous dog left home alone. The temptations of couches and stereos prove to be more than one dog can endure. Before long Stanley decides his new found freedom is better off shared. The house quickly fills with dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Stanley may have bitten off more than he can chew.

Popular children’s author Linda Bailey teams up with illustrator Bill Slavin (her partner from the Good Times Travel Agency series) for the first Stanley adventure. Between them, they’ve produced over 100 children’s titles and won numerous awards.

Stanley’s antics are perfect for the 4 to 8 year old in your home or story time. There are no major controversial elements, but Stanley does have a precocious streak. It’s natural for kids to want to test their boundaries. Pre-schoolers will squeal as Stanley tests his limits with adventurous but harmless frolics.

The sophisticated wordplay, inside jokes and punditry will get little minds thinking. The host of sound effects, rhythmic wording and action make for an excellent read-aloud experience.

Slavin’s illustrations make excellent use of colour and texture to create mood. Stanley’s facial expressions alone are worth the cover price. Slavin’s sprawling art makes full use of the two page spread. Perhaps his true talent is knowing what NOT to draw, as he manages to pack in loads of detail without clutter. Scenes are shown from the dog’s eye view, a tactic designed to draw the child into Stanley’s world.

The book is perfect for one-on-one reading, and just big enough for story times. Some of the visuals may be lost in larger crowds but there’s still plenty to discover. With solid binding, a sturdy jacket and excellent paper quality this title should withstand multiple re-readings. That’s a good thing because this is a story children will want to hear again and again.

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