Flat Stanley

Book review by
Mary Dixon Weidler, Common Sense Media
Flat Stanley Book Poster Image
Expressive writing and funny illustrations.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Children and adults name-call and tease Stanley.

Violence & Scariness

Stanley is flattened by a bulletin board but returns to his original shape.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the restrained yet humorous writing style of this book enhances the over-the-top adventures. Kids will enjoy (the somewhat dated) illustrations of Stanley in his silly situations.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byfr0stedshad0w April 9, 2008
Kid, 8 years old April 25, 2012
Teen, 13 years old Written bypg13rnc17 April 21, 2011

What's the story?

Flat as a pancake, smashed by a bulletin board, Stanley uses his new shape to gain attention, but he soon learns the downside of being different. Jeff Brown's sophisticated humor keeps adults entertained, while kids identify with Stanley's feelings and enjoy his adventures. The illustration style, though dated, is expressive and funny.


Is it any good?

Brown's understanding of childhood emotions is as highly tuned as his humorous, understated writing style. "Mr. Dart stood back a few feet and stared at him for a moment. 'Oh well,' he said, 'it may not be art, but I know what I like.'" Bjorkman's updated illustrations are more colorful, but some may find that they lack the wit and charm of Tomi Ungerer's originals.

The lesson about the perils of going to extremes for attention is subtly conveyed, as Stanley is teased and rejected by his peers and Mom delivers a heavy-handed lecture about accepting other's differences, including racial and religious ones. Younger siblings will relate to Arthur's jealousy, too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Stanley handles his newfound fame. How does he react at first? What does he learn from it?

Book details

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