It’s Only Stanley

It’s Only Stanley
Jon Agee
Scallywag Press

Jon Agee imbues this picture book with his usual dry humour, leaning herein towards the utterly absurd.

It tells of a family, the Wimbledons, whose slumbers are disturbed by a series of weird sounds that Mr W. (Walter) goes to investigate each time.

First he reports on their pet dog Stanley’’s howling at the moon; but on subsequent disturbing occasions we discover that Stanley has a particular penchant for engaging in noisy tasks during the hours of darkness.

Next he’s reported to have fixed the oil tank,

after which he’s provided the moggy with some delectable-looking catfish stew, the smell of which awoke young Willie Wimbledon (don’t you love the alliterative names, the entire family has them).

Thereafter Wanda’s ‘buzzing sound’ at 3.30am turns out to be our Mr Fixer repairing the old TV; Wylie’s ‘splashy sound’ proves to be a rather wet bathroom caused by Stanley’s drain fixing activities and finally the entire family is up in arms, mum Wilma included.

What repairs can our diligent, multi-talented Stanley be working on next? Let’s merely say, it’s assuredly his most ambitious project yet … and leave you, the cast and readers in suspended animation,

awaiting Agee (and Stanley’s) laugh-out-loud finale.

I’m sure if you share this with youngsters, arguments will ensue about whether the canine character is conscientious, crazed, or certifiable. Whichever they opt for listeners/readers will assuredly delight in his DIY antics so hilariously presented in Agee’s unpredictable rhyming narrative with its repeat refrains, and his droll, alternating scenes of the disturbed family and their disturber’s deeds.Make sure you closely follow Max, the cat throughout.

What a satisfying read aloud for both listeners and adult presenters. Suitable bedtime reading? – that’s entirely up to you …

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