Saturday, April 23, 2011

Flat Stanley Comes for a Visit!

A few weeks ago, I got a suprise visit from the one-and-only Flat Stanley. Now if you're not familiar with Stanley's story, let me fill you in. Stanley is a character from the series of children's chapter books called Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown (there is also a picture book version). In the book, Stanley gets flattened like a piece of paper and mailed all over the world by his family.

Schools have picked up on this idea as a great way for their students to connect and write to people in faraway places. So the students create their own Flat Stanley and then mail him to family, friends, celebrities, or even a little-known children's book authors and illustrators. Stanley is then to follow that person around and spend time doing the things that person normally does. When his visit is over, Stanley is shipped back home with a letter describing his visit and some photos of the places that he went.

Here is the letter I received along with Stanley:

Now who could resist a letter like that!? So Stanley and I started out on our mini-adventure. Below is the typed version of the letter that I sent back (it would be too much work for you to read my handwriting!):

Dear ______,

Thank you so much for sending Stanley to visit me! We had a great time together! Stanley and I had a pretty busy week. We were going to start our adventures by going to my sons' soccer games, but we ended up leaving Stanley at home. It was so windy we were afraid he would would end up in Oklahoma!

Since he missed out on the games, I decided to bring Stanley with me to school where I teach art. He had a great time meeting my students and being creative. A lot of my kids wanted to make their own Stanleys from clay!

After school, Stanley went with me to the main library in downtown Fort Worth. The Elementary Art Show is coming, and I needed Stanley's help getting it ready. He helped me pick the best art and made sure I got it displayed nicely.

The next day, Stanley worked with me in my studio. I am illustrating a new book called There's a Gator Under My Bed! by Amanda M. Thrasher, and I needed Stanley's help with some of the pictures. I made him his own pencil so that he could help me out. Stanley found it very interesting that I use actual photographs of my son as reference when I draw. I use photographs because it is much easier to draw realistically if you have something to look at while you draw. (That's a good tip for anyone who wants to be an artist!)

Finally, just before bed, Stanley asked if we could read my book, Just Line Around. So Stanley and my two sons sat down together on the couch and had a bed-time story. We got a little worried afterward because we couldn't find Stanley anywhere! We looked high and low until we realized that my 4-year-old had used him as a bookmark!! Stanley wasn't hurt, though, and we all had a good laugh once we knew he was safe.

Thanks again for sending Stanley to visit! I really did enjoy it. Tell your classmates and teacher "Hi!" for me and have a GREAT rest of the school year!


Kinsy McVay

If you would like to see more pictures of Stanley's visit, click here. If you feel that you have a career or hobby that children might find interesting, please reach out to your local schools and let them know you would be open to a visit from Stanley!! Who knows, maybe you could inspire child with just a few minutes of your time.


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