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Its Only Stanley

It's Only Stanley

Published: 1 Sep 2020

Hardback, 32 pages

Recommended for age 3+ , 5+ , 7+ and 9+

By Jon Agee

Illustrated by Jon Agee

Published by Scallywag Press

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RRP £12.99
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A hilarious 'night in the life of' a family who are kept awake by the antics of their talented dog, Stanley, only discover at the end just what Stanley is up to!

'The Wimbledons were sleeping. It was very, very late,When Wilma heard a spooky sound, Which made her sit up straight. "That's very odd," said Walter.
"I don't recognize the tune..." "It's only Stanley," Walter said. "He's howling at the moon."'

Whoever heard of a dog who can sing, cook and do DIY around the house? He makes a lot of noise and mess, but he's forgiven as does mend the TV. Not until the very end do we, or the hapless Wimbledon family, see just exactly what Stanley the dog has been planning all along!

Tagged technology

Reviewed by Mary Roche

It’s Only Stanley is another offering from the brilliant Jon Agee packed with his inimitable brand of humour and philosophy. This book will go on to be a firm favourite with children (and their read-aloud adults).

Stanley lives with the Wimbledon family – Wilma, Walter, their three children Wanda, Willie and Wylie, and Max the family’s cat.

One night, strange noises awaken Wilma and Walter and Max. Walter and Max go to investigate. It turns out to be only Stanley, ‘howling to the moon’. As the night wears on, more and more strange noises are heard – each time it’s ‘only Stanley’, who increasingly, seems to be engaged in a very complex project that involves engineering, physics and chemistry. We see Stanley building, plumbing, wiring and working on some kind of internal combustion apparatus. We readers can see that this is one very determined dog.

I won’t spoil the surprise. Told in a delightfully comic verse with Agee’s marvellous drawings, this is a great tale about underestimating the power of love. With just a few lines Agee can show us the perplexity and annoyance of the family and the determination on Stanley’s face. Max’s expressions are hilarious.

As with all good picturebooks, the illustrations in It’s Only Stanley tell far more of the story than does the text. Clues abound for the discerning reader of images – the shape of the house, the flickering image beaming in on the television. Oh, it’s fun, this book. Absurd, silly, laugh-out-loud funny. Perfect for a read-aloud. Perfect for guessing what happens next.

Agee has done it again.

Dr Mary Roche is an education consultant. Passionate about the importance of dialogical pedagogy, literacy and children’s books in education, she is frequently invited to be a keynote speaker in Ireland and the UK. A former education lecturer and classroom teacher, Mary is the author of ‘Developing Children’s Critical Thinking through Picturebooks’ (Routledge 2015). A bookworm, she is at her happiest when immersed in good children’s literature.