Best Books for Kids: “Somebody Swallowed Stanley”

This fantastic book, written by Sarah Roberts, doesn’t simply teach children about the wide range of animals living in the sea, it also offers and important and timely message.

At the start of the book, the main character of the book, Stanley, is introduced as a somewhat different sea creature who has several differences from his fellow creatures.  Unlike them he doesn’t really have eyes, arms, or a mouth.  While other animals work to find food, Stanley simply floats around.  Soon after readers get to know Stanley and his neighbors they are surprised by a new development…Stanley has been swallowed by a whale!

When Stanley finally manages to escape from the whale’s stomach he starts to sink to the bottom of the sea.  However, just as we think he is safe, a seagull catches him and wants to make Stanley into his meal.  When other seagulls approach and start to fight over Stanley, Stanley again falls in to the sea and this time sinks all the way to the sandy bottom.  Many fish and sea animals are interested in Stanley on the way down, but in the end it is a sea turtle who catches Stanley and starts to munch on him. (At this point readers have come to understand that Stanley is not a sea creature after all….he is actually a plastic bag and extremely dangerous for marine life!)

Once the poor sea turtle realizes Stanley is food it is too late! He can’t get the bag off his beak and now he can’t breathe! In an effort to save himself he swims to the beach.  Luckily a young man has just arrived at the beach to go surfing and removes the bag, saving the sea turtle’s life.  This animal loving young man decides to change Stanley into something much safer for sea life…a little rope, some nearby branches…and Stanley the plastic bag becomes Stanley the kite! No longer dangerous, from now on Stanley will bring only joy to the people and animals he meets.

This book is perfect for children and adults aged three years and older.  Written with a rhyming words, and colorfully illustrated, it is fun while being educational.  Published by the Marine Conservation Society, Somebody Swallowed Stanley is available at select bookstores and from www.amazon.com .

Deniz Eksioglu

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