Reviews /

Small Stanley’s Big List of Scary Stuff

Authored by Angie Morgan
Published by Otter-Barry Books Ltd

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For Small Stanley, life is becoming increasingly full of scary things. Dogs, bears, bugs, snakes and storms are all quite terrifying! But Stanley is fed up with being scared and wants to be brave like the superheroes in his books, so he asks his grandad for advice. Grandad, a lover of list-writing, suggests that Stanley should write a list of everything that scares him. As Stanley’s list becomes longer and longer, he returns to Grandad for help. A walk in the park is advised, and that’s when a huge gust of wind carries his list of worries away. Freed from the burden, Stanley reengages with his friends and is able to play and have fun again.

The interplay between words and pictures in Small Stanley’s Big List of Scary Stuff works well. Different fonts are used to visually represent Small Stanley’s feelings and I can imagine children emulating these ideas when drawing or bookmaking. The illustrations help to reassure children that Stanley’s worries don’t need to be their worries. Whilst the text voices fears about dogs and cats, for example, the illustrations show us a bunch of cute cats and friendly pooches.

The book ends with some ‘Helpful Hints’ from Small Stanley about dealing with worries. One of these is the reassurance that you are not alone in having worries: everyone is scared of something (even grown-ups!). Not all worries can be resolved with a gust a wind but sharing them with others and spending time with friends can help us manage them.

This book could be used for reading aloud or as part of PSHE provision in Early Years and KS1.