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Flat Stanley is a 1964 children's book written by Jeff Brown (January 1, 1926 – December 3, 2003) and originally illustrated by Tomi Ungerer. It is the first in a series of books featuring Stanley Lambchop.
Stanley Lambchop and his younger brother Arthur are given a big bulletin board by their father to display pictures and posters. He hangs it on the wall over Stanley's bed. During the night the board falls from the wall, flattening Stanley in his sleep. He survives and makes the best of his altered state, and soon he is entering locked rooms by sliding under the door, and playing with his younger brother by being used as a kite. One special advantage is that Flat Stanley can now visit his friends by being mailed in an envelope. Stanley even helps catch some art museum thieves by posing as a painting on the wall. Eventually, Stanley is tired of being flat and Arthur changes him back to his proper shape with a bicycle pump.
Other books in the series
- Stanley and the Magic Lamp (1985) (Stanley and Arthur discover a magic lamp containing a genie)
- Stanley In Space (1990) (The Lambchops are sent into space by the President to forge peace with a group of miniature humanoid aliens who inhabit the newly discovered planet Tyrra)
- Stanley's Christmas Adventure (1993) (Santa Claus's daughter, Sarah Christmas, arrives unexpectedly in the Lambchop household during the holiday season, and convinces them to help Santa, who has given up on his traditional present deliveries due to his beliefs that there is too much violence and greed in the world, by bringing back his jolly spirit)
- Invisible Stanley (1995) (After a thunderstorm occurs one night, Stanley mysteriously turns invisible)
- Stanley, Flat Again! (2003) (Stanley is hit on the knee with a rubber ball, causing him to return to his flat state. He has many unusual adventures following this odd event)
At the time of his death, Brown was working on another Flat Stanley book. Further books in the series have since been written by other authors.
In addition, a series called Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures is being written by other authors, with ten books (plus two announced for a 2014 release, but still[when?] not released) out so far:
- The Mount Rushmore Calamity (2009) - author Sara Pennypacker
- The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery (2009) - author Sara Pennypacker
- The Japanese Ninja Surprise (2009) - author Sara Pennypacker
- The Intrepid Canadian Expedition (2010) - author Sara Pennypacker
- The Amazing Mexican Secret (2010) - author Josh Greenhut
- The African Safari Discovery (2011) - author Josh Greenhut
- The Flying Chinese Wonders (2011) - author Josh Greenhut
- The Australian Boomerang Bonanza (2011) - author Josh Greenhut
- The US Capital Commotion (2011) - author Josh Greenhut
- Showdown at the Alamo (2014) - author Josh Greenhut
- Framed in France (2014) - author Josh Greenhut
- Escape to California (2014) - author David Ross
The Flat Stanley Project
The Flat Stanley Project was started in 1995 by Dale Hubert, a third grade schoolteacher in London, Ontario, Canada. It is meant to facilitate letter-writing by schoolchildren to each other as they document where Flat Stanley has accompanied them. Dale Hubert received the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2001 for the Flat Stanley Project.
The Project provides an opportunity for students to make connections with students of other member schools who have signed up with the project. Students begin by reading the book and becoming acquainted with the story. They create paper "Flat Stanleys" (representative drawings of the Stanley Lambchop character) and keep a journal for a few days, documenting the places and activities in which Flat Stanley is involved. Each student's Flat Stanley and its respective journal are mailed to other people who are asked to treat the figure as a visiting guest and add to his journal, then return them both after a period of time. The project has many similarities to the travelling gnome prank except, of course, for the Flat Stanley Project's focus on literacy.
Students may find it fun to plot Flat Stanley's travels on maps and share the contents of the journal. Often, a Flat Stanley returns with a photo or postcard from his visit. Some teachers prefer to use e-mail for its quicker travel time.
In 2005, more than 6,500 classes from 48 countries took part in the Flat Stanley Project.
The project was featured in a 2004 episode of the animated TV series King of the Hill, in which Nancy Gribble receives a Flat Stanley in the mail. Peggy Hill and Luanne Platter photograph it in a number of dangerous situations, resulting in the school's Flat Stanley Project being cancelled.
According to the February 26, 2009 broadcast of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Flat Stanley was on board US Airways Flight 1549 which landed safely in the Hudson River. He was carried to safety in the briefcase of his traveling companion.
In early 2010, Darren Haas, a huge Flat Stanley advocate and applications architect, approached Dale Hubert with the idea of turning the Flat Stanley Project concept into an app for the iPhone.
Also in 2010, fans of the baseball team the St. Louis Cardinals were asked (via the team website) to petition US President Barack Obama to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial. A "Flat Stan" downloadable cutout figure was made available to encourage Cardinals fans to take a photo with Musial's caricature and send them in as petitions.
How it works
In the Flat Stanley children's books, Stanley travels the world in envelopes. Students who read the books send the paper doll and written notes to students in other parts of the world through conventional mail and e-mail. Children exchange ideas, photographs, questions and culture with students overseas.
Teachers register and arrange exchanges with other classrooms on the Flat Stanley Project website. Other teachers ask students to get their parents' permission to address an envelope and send the paper doll to a friend or relative in another state.
The Flat Stanley Project uses blogs for teachers, parents and students to publish stories, describe local traditions and scenery, and post photos. Flat Stanley photos are archived in an online Picture Gallery.
- The Flat Stanley Project.
- Flat stanley in Jerusalem
- Flat Stanley and Flat Stella Explore the Environment at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency