by Jack Rosse
Illustrated by Melanie Chadwick
25 pages, Solstice Publishing
Review by Melissa Conway
Jack the writer rather likes the idea of a fairy living in his house, but Stanley isn’t at all what he expected. Stanley isn’t all glitter and flitter; he’s frumpy and rude. His favorite pastime is listening to drippy faucets – and complaining about the sorts of things normal fairies love – like bright colors, flowery scents and birdsong. Jack first meets him when Stanley is unsuccessfully attempting to muster up support from the garden fairies. Stanley is not happy—well, he’s never happy, but he’s even less so when workers adding on to Jack’s house make a racket that destroys the cobwebby peace and tranquility under the washbasin where he lives. Jack is willing to compromise, but will Stanley cooperate?
I know the author, so I set out to get an unbiased opinion of Stanley Moves In from someone in its target audience: my seven-year-old son. I laid a little trap for him by putting illustrator Melanie Chadwick’s cover page up on my laptop and leaving it where I knew he’d notice. I stood in the kitchen and watched as he walked by, saw Stanley in all his obnoxious glory and stopped, bait taken. He climbed into my chair and examined the letter art making up the word ‘Stanley.’ I approached and he said, ‘That doesn’t look like an ‘A’ and an ‘N,” to which I replied, ‘Then how did you know it was an ‘A’ and an ‘N’?’ He wrinkled his brow and shrugged.
‘Do you want to read it?’ I asked.
Of course he did.
He snuggled up next to me as we read through the whole story, 25 pages of text and illustrations. I watched his face, catching every smile and chuckle—and there were quite a few. After we’d finished, I said, ‘Stanley’s a grump, isn’t he?’
My son nodded. ‘He’s a bit like Dad when he doesn’t get much sleep.’
With a secret smile, I opened a Word document to jot down his exact words, and he watched me type the question and his answer. By the time I asked my next question: ‘So did you like it?’ -he’d figured out he was being interviewed and clammed up. All I got out of him was a shy smile and a simple, ‘Yeah.’
Well, it’s hard not to like Rosse’s charming tale of this out-of-the-ordinary fairy, and Chadwick’s delightful depictions really capture Stanley’s pugnacious nature. I asked my son if he wanted to read the next Stanley book when it comes out. Still self-conscious, he only said, “Yeah.”
Of course he would.