Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bright Stanley by Matt Buckingham

This book will catch the eye of many a child because of the shiny, metallic gold fish scales on the cover. They might also enjoy looking through the book because Stanley, shiny and sparkly, is on every page. Unfortunately, that's about all Bright Stanley has to offer. The story is weak and, at times, doesn't even make sense. For example, it starts out with Stanley waking up late and inadvertently being left behind by his "school" as they all swim off to "cooler waters for the summer". Why didn't they just wake him up with everyone else? And doesn't he know the way? In the end, when they do meet up, his friends say "We've been looking all over for you!" Well, guys, he was home in bed. The writing appears to be in rough draft form, that stage before a good editor has taken a look at it. The dialogue between Stanley and a lobster he encounters is clumsy. There's no flow to the text. It would not make a good read-aloud, so save your breath. But, again, the visual qualities of Bright Stanley, the shiny scales, and the big toothed shark in the middle of the book, might be enough to capture the attention of young children.

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