Thursday, October 19, 2006

Flat Stanley and Flat Scout

I recently (and a bit belatedly) stumbled across this: Flat Scout who is journeying across the globe visiting fiber fun people. So cool!

So, it brings to mind my Flat Stanley story. My mother used to read to us while my sister and I ate dinner. It was likely a clever way to consolidate the bedtime story and get us to sit at the table for a reasonable amount of time and prevent us from turning on the television all at once. One of the stories that we enjoyed was Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. My mother was also a teacher for many years so had quite a mental file when it came to children's books. For those who have not had the pleasure (go read it!), Stanley was flattened by a bulletin board and had a number of adventures facilitated by his flat status, including being mailed to see his grandparents.

A decade or so later we were in Connecticut and my mother was introduced to this lovely gentleman named Jeff. He mentioned that he was a writer, but Jeff Brown is a common enough sounding name that she didn't quite put it together right away. Several minutes later she said, "You wrote Flat Stanley!" He admitted that he had and they had a lovely time talking about it. I wouldn't say our families became close friends, but certainly friendly. I babysat for his son. And we had the pleasure of listening to Jeff read Flat Stanley aloud at the Stonington Free Library. (It is so funny, funnier for adults.)

At one point Jeff mentioned that he had published several sequels but they were harder to find in the US. We snatched up those we could get, and I bought the final one in the UK (where they - as they should be - are all available).

Sadly, Jeff passed away in 2003, so there will be no more tales of the family Lambchop. But the Flat Stanley project - to help schoolchildren with letter writing - and other variations live on! Maybe I need a flat me to do all the holiday travelling!