Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
A compromise between my grandson's thoughts and mine
on 1 August 2012
My grandson has just turned 3 and when this came up on Amazon Vine I thought it would be a good addition to the books he has at my house.
* What do I think? *
When I read it through before he had a look at, I instantly took a like to the illustrations, Neal Layton has made the story very visual. I particularly liked how on some of the pages only the main part is a vivid colour whilst others are dulled into the backgroup - such as when Stanley is waiting for the train with his family. I like the embossed cover, made it seem really appealing. I also thought the layout of the text was good - some pages went left to right whilst others went down the page and it made it feel different on each page. The story however wasn't to my liking. I found the S alliteration difficult in places such as "Stanley stands on Stockport Station with his stick." Parts of it became a mouthful and required a lot of concentration. Furthermore some of the phrasing was odd, as in "like pretending the stick is a match to catch the world aflame" and "boats ride seaback out on the distance"; they just don't seem to make sense.
* What did my grandson think? *
He is a big fan of lyrical stories such as The Highway Rat or Each Peach Pear Plum (Viking Kestrel Picture Books) and this didn't appeal to him in quite the same way. As he has an active imagination he didn't struggle with the concept of how the stick could mean a range of different things to Stanley such as a dinosaur, a fishing rod, a banana or a whistle but he didn't react as well to the words as I'd imagined he would; even though I read it with enthusiasm. He told me after three readings he really liked the slug but not the monkey (I've no idea why by the way!).
So overall whilst as an adult I'd be looking at giving it 2 stars, he seemed to favour 4 stars. Therefore 3/5 is a compromise.