ABC Books, 2016
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Stanley is not the world’s most attractive dog – he looks like he has been built out of very old, very weathered, very strong bricks and even though he looks dangerous from a distance, he was really as soft as a pillow. Stanley loves four things – his bed, his dinner, his red rubber ball and Gerald, his human. Unlike Stanley who looked like he had been built from bricks, Gerald looks like he has been created from carefully crafted paper, folded and glued together and rather than looking dangerous, he looked as “harmless as a postage stamp.” Gerald loves his mum, Stanley and Lego.
Most days Stanley walks Gerald to school but on the whole he was quite lonely at times as Gerald and his mum were all the family in the house, and while he loved them, they never came to sleep in his bed with him. So when Gerald took Stanley and his red ball to the park and Stanley got to play with other dogs, he loved it. When Gerald threw the ball all the dogs would chase it, but they always stood back and let Stanley fetch it. Until the day a fluffy little thing called Lulu caught it and refused to give it back…an event that will change his life forever!
Colin Thompson, author of the fabulous Fearless, has created another doggy character that children will love and resonate with giving them hope that even though they might feel lonely and be the only one in a single-parent family, things can change. With his vivid words-and-pictures descriptions of both Stanley and Gerald (with lots of wonderful similes to explore) there is a strong message about not judging things on their appearance and the juxtaposition of the soft, fluffy Lulu standing up to the tough-looking Stanley is just one example.
This story has many layers so will appeal to many age groups, but overall it’s just about love and the power of hope and a red rubber ball.
Very useful teachers notes are available.