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Literature / Flat Stanley

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Flat Stanley is a children's chapter book written by Jeff Brown. It was originally published in 1964.

Stanley Lambchop is your ordinary kid. That is, until one night, a bulletin board in his bedroom falls on him while he's sleeping. His younger brother Arthur calls his parents up to Stanley's bedroom to see if Stanley's hurt from the bulletin board, which thankfully he isn't... but the incident did leave him Squashed Flat! Until he can find a way to inflate himself back to normal, Stanley must get used to living life as a flat person.

The book has five sequels:

  • Stanley and the Magic Lamp (1985), where Stanley accidentally releases a genie named Prince Haraz from an old lamp.
  • Stanley in Space (1990), where the President of the United States chooses the Lambchop family to ride in a spaceship called the Star Scout.
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  • Stanley's Christmas Adventure (1993), where Sarah Claus, Santa's daughter, calls on the Lambchop family to save Christmas when the jolly red man decides not to give out presents this year.
  • Invisible Stanley (1995), where Stanley inexplicably turns invisible after eating some raisins and an apple during a storm the preceding night.
  • Stanley, Flat Again! (2003), where Stanley is flattened again.

The book inspired the Flat Stanley Project, an educational project where kids send paper cut-outs of him to different locations and have records of his adventures sent back to them.


Flat Stanley and its sequel books provide examples of:

  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: In Stanley in Space, the Lambchop family does not wear spacesuits during their space journey, but show no breathing-related problems from it.
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Stanley and the Magic Lamp follows this naming convention.
  • Character Title: All of the books have "Stanley" somewhere in the title.
  • Christmas Episode: Stanley's Christmas Adventure.
  • Disguised in Drag: Stanley has to pretend to be a painting of a female shepard to bust a robbery in an art museum.
  • Excited Show Title!: Stanley, Flat Again!
  • Genie in a Bottle: The plot point of Stanley and the Magic Lamp. Stanley accidentally summons Prince Haraz the genie from a lamp.
  • History Repeats: Stanley, Flat Again! is about Stanley having to cope with being flattened a second time.
  • Human Mail: In the original book, Stanley is transported to another part of the country this way.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Flat Stanley enjoys the many benefits of being flat, but then wants to become normal again when children tease him.
  • Invisible Main Character: The premise of Invisible Stanley has Stanley become invisible after eating raisins during a thunderstorm (apparently, according to a book owned by Stanley's doctor, eating fruit during a big storm will make a person invisible).
  • Invisible Streaker: Averted/lampshaded in Invisible Stanley. Stanley's clothes explicitly disappear when he puts them on and reappear as soon as he takes them off. To mark his presence in a room, his family gives him a balloon to hold. Part of the string disappears when he touches it, but not the balloon itself.
  • Kid Hero: The main character, Stanley, is 11 years old.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: In Stanley and the Magic Lamp, Stanley wishes for a lion, but realizes that such a pet might scare people and quickly changes it to an elephant. This overlaps the wish and causes Prince Haraz to instead create a liophant, a hybrid between the two animals.
  • Overly Long Name: Prince Haraz's full name is Prince Fawzi Mustafa Aslan Mirza Melek Namerd Haraz.
  • Paper People: The entire point of the first book is that Stanley has to deal with living life as a flat person until he can inflate himself back to normal.
  • Squashed Flat: Sets off the plot of the first book, where Stanley is crushed by a bulletin board. The impact does not physically hurt him, but it does leave him flattened.
  • Stand-In Portrait: Stanley foils an art museum robbery by pretending to be a painting.
  • You Are Number 6: In Stanley's Christmas Adventure, Sarah Claus refers to Santa's reindeer by numbers instead of proper names. The Lambchops mention that they know proper names for the reindeer she could use instead - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Connor, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen - that Sarah mentions to Santa himself later in the book.


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