Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Case of the Purloined Pumpkins: Flat Stanley and the Missing Pumpkins by Jeff Brown and Lori Haskins Houran

Flat Stanley is off with Dad and his little brother Arthur for fall break visiting his Uncle Bob and Aunt Sue's farm. Both boys are excited, but it's a long ride and a bit of a squeeze in the backseat.

"Ow! Your flat elbow is so pointy!" said Arthur.

"Sorry," said Flat Stanley. He folded himself up like a taco.

Finally they arrive and Stanley unfolds himself from back seat. Instantly Aunt Sue is on his case.

Aunt Sue is always baking pies to fatten him up.

"I'm flat, not skinny," says Stanley.

But Uncle Bob has some jobs Flat Stanley is perfectly suited for. While Arthur and Billy dash off to play, Uncle Bob and Stanley take care of some farm chores. Stanley's flat hands easily slip between the hens and their nests to collect the eggs without the hens even noticing, and when Uncle Bob needs to unload hay bales from his truck, Stanley makes himself into a perfect ramp to roll them down. They're done way before supper.

"You're good help," says Uncle Bob.

"But you're still too thin," says Aunt Sue. "Have another piece of pie!"

But after supper Uncle Bob needs more help from Stanley. He takes him to his pumpkin patch. Stanley is impressed and asks his uncle if he is planning to enter his perfect pumpkins in the Fall Fair.

"Oh! Gosh, no," says the super modest Bob. "I never show my pumpkins. "

But Uncle Bob has a pumpkin problem. Someone is swiping a few pumpkins every night. He's staked out the patch himself, but the thieves seem to wait until after he leaves to catch a few winks of sleep. He jokes that his scarecrow isn't up to the overnight job. But when he notices that the scarecrow has pointy elbows just like Stanley's, Uncle Bob asks him to dress as the scarecrow and keep watch until the pumpkin snatchers put in an appearance. Stanley agrees bravely, but being a scarecrow has its complications.

Stanley stood still in the moonlight. trying not to scratch.

His sleeves and shoulders were stuffed with straw!

After quite a while, Stanley hears some voices--familiar voices, very familiar voices.

It sounds like Billy, and ...Arthur? Why would Billy swipe his own dad's pumpkins?

A mystery that ends with blue ribbons for Uncle Bob and a big slab of prize-winning pumpkin pie for Stanley is a win-win conclusion, in Lori Haskins Houran's latest I-Can-Read Flat Stanley story, Flat Stanley and the Missing Pumpkins (I Can Read Level 2) (Harper, 2017). Since 1964, when Jeff Brown published the first of Flat Stanley's adventures (in which he is flattened by a bulletin board), Stanley's traveling adventures have long been popular fare for young independent readers, and this one is just made for solo reading for primary students. Comic artist Macky Pamintuan does a good job of adapting the traditional Stanley to this series of easy reading stories for youngsters, just right for October and November occasions.

Share this pumpkin tale with Houran's Flat Stanley and the Haunted House (I Can Read!, Level 2) for a pair of fall treats.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home