I’ve been thinking all week about what picture book to recommend (and what activity to include), and I have to go with one that was kind of a sleeper hit with me. I didn’t love it on the first read. BUT the more I thought on it and mulled on it, the more it reached up and grabbed me. It’s a subtle form of humor with a sly twist at the end. And I really don’t know how to discuss it without giving some spoiler or other (but I will really try as I HATE spoilers!).
Title: It’s Only Stanley
Written & Illustrated By: Jon Agee
Dial Books, March 2015, Fiction
Suitable For Ages: 5-8
Themes/Topics: relationships, humor, dogs (and cats)
Brief Synopsis: (from the publisher)
Mysterious noises keep waking up the Wimbledon family. “That’s very odd,” says Mr. Wimbledon each time, but when he returns from checking on the sounds, he’s always reassuring: “It’s only Stanley; he’s fixing the oil tank.” “It’s only Stanley; he’s clearing the bathtub drain.”
Links To Resources: Without spoiling too much (as the book starts with Stanley howling at the moon), I think this “walking on the moon activity” is perfect to go along with the book: http://www.slsc.org/assets/pdfs/EG-MagnificentDesolation.pdf
Why I Like This Book: I love the humor in the book that’s blatant (a dog fixing the bathtub drain?), as well as subtle (the cat who has a silent interaction NOT in the text on every page!). I love the unexpected twist at the end that completely changes the perspective on the book (and makes you have to read it all over again).
AND as an added bonus, here is a wonderful video with Jon Agee talking all about the book (with tons of spoilers though): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4kItj0oEPk
As a writer, I really enjoyed the video (with some insight behind the scenes for this book).