Childrens Book Review: Stanley Mows the Lawn

So here’s the 4th book of the six reading items I’ve nominated for my reading project to be completed by the end of this school term. In Tasmania, the third term ends on the 20th of December. Phew! I think I might just make it.

My almost 4 year old chose this book at the library. I think one of his favourite colours is green and this book is certainly ‘green’! It was written and illustrated by Craig Frazier. As I flick through the pages I can tell that Frazier is a graphic designer. His illustration style is reminiscent of some of the computer graphic drawings I’ve come to know back in the days I was studying graphic design. I thought this would be a fun book to read to Mr R and with minimalist text it would add creativity to the story telling.

It has a simple story. Stanley decides that he will mow his lawn because the grass in his yard “had grown so tall he couldn’t even see the toes of his boots” (p.2). But as he was mowing his lawn up and back, up and back, Stanley meets Hank, a snake who lives in the tall grass. Stanley had an idea! When Stanley resumed mowing, he zigged and zagged! And when he finished, both he and Hank liked the lawn. Well I will leave it to your imagination as to how the lawn looked at the end.

I really like how Frazier achieved the visual effects of this book. Through his simple, balanced and clean illustrations we get to see how he portrayed the two characters’ point of view of the world they live in and their relationship with each other. After seeing Hank, Stanley knew what he had to do in order for Hank to keep his home and at the same time keep his yard neat and tidy. Empathy is a valuable trait that I believe children must learn and possess and Frazier has certainly shown this through Stanley. As parents I think it’s our duty to explain this characteristic to our children in a fun and creative way.

Overall, a wonderfully and visually stimulating book to read and share with your little ones. Not sure about the whole colour scheme being green though (even the sky is green!). Some bold colours such as orange or red would have worked well to better contrast some of the images. It is after all, a children’s book. Nevertheless, Frazier manages to give enough visual appeal with his ‘larger than life’ geometrical shape that is Stanley, along with the textured background and subtle colours that children and adults alike would enjoy. We certainly have!

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