Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Favourite Childhood Books - Part 1

I thought I would start a new series, showcasing some of my favourite childhood books, and a little about the authors/illustrators. First up (to celebrate Pancake Day!) is Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. Brown wrote the first Flat Stanley book way back in 1964. As the story goes, Stanley gets flattened one day when a bulletin board lands on him. From then on he has to cope with his altered state, which sometimes comes in handy, for instance when Stanley is able to visit his friends by being posted into a letterbox.

Here, the author explains where he got the simple idea from for the book:

"More than thirty years ago, I was saying goodnight to my now grown-up sons, J.C. and Tony (Flat Stanley is dedicated to them), and JC stalling for my chat time, asked me not to leave the bedroom. He was scared, he claimed, and when I asked him what he was afraid of he couldn't think of anything. As I started out again, he had an inspiration. 'I'm afraid my big bulletin board will fall on me,' he said. I told him that that was ridiculous; the big board on the wall above his bed had been securely mounted by me, and even if it got loose it would do so so slowly that he wouldn't even notice it, just go off to sleep, and by the time it rested fully upon him he'd be sound asleep and wouldn't wake, so the board would just lie there all night. Then I thought of small joke and said: 'Of course, when you wake up in the morning, you'll probably be flat.' Both boys thought that was a hoot and many evenings after that one, we'd make up stories about adventures you could have if you were flat. Best idea I ever had, and I didn't even know I'd had it. Not for many months, until a friend in the kid-book business, who knew about the flat stories, suggested I make them into a book."


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