Monday, December 3, 2018

Review - Stanley's Christmas Adventure

Stanley's Christmas Adventure (Flat Stanley #5)
by Jeff Brown
illustrated by Macky Pamintuan
Date: 1993
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reading level: C
Book type: illustrated chapter book
Pages: 96
Format: e-book
Source: library

Can Flat Stanley save Christmas in this holiday-themed chapter book adventure?

Santa Claus is not his usual, jolly self. In fact, he's in a terrible mood. He doesn't believe that children appreciate Christmas anymore. This year, he has decided that he is not going to deliver any Christmas presents!

Luckily, his daughter, Sarah Claus, knows who to call for help. The Lambchop family! But can they convince Santa that there are still good children in the world? Just leave it up to Stanley.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Well, that was a bust. I liked the original Flat Stanley story well enough. But this just seems like a way to cash in on the premise. Stanley isn't even flat here. Instead, we get an insipid story about a depressed Santa Claus who refuses to do his job. So his daughter, Sarah, goes to the Lambchops' house to recruit Stanley to cheer her father up. Everybody's disappointed that he's no longer flat. Then Santa gets all judgmental about people asking him for things (hey, it's in the job description, buddy!) and even accuses the Lambchops of being greedy. Of course, he was jumping to conclusions, and it took a while for this dolt to realize that the boys' wishes were actually very selfless. When he does realize this, he does a complete 180 (so fast I almost got whiplash) and decides Christmas is all right after all.

This book was published in 1993, almost 30 years after the original. It seems that the author was trying to keep the style the same, but it didn't really work. While the original book is quaint, this one (ironically) seems dated. It borders on sexist, and the way the adults treat their children seems like the "children should be seen, not heard" attitude of long ago. And Mrs. Lambchop correcting her sons' grammar (which didn't even need to be corrected) was extra annoying.

I thought I might like this because I liked the original Flat Stanley. But I wouldn't recommend this one, either as a Christmas book or as an early chapter book. It's a quick read, to be sure... but it's also not very good.

Plot: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 3/5
Writing & Editing: 2/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall: 1.75 out of 5

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