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'Stuttering Stan Takes a Stand', by Artie Knapp

Cherry Hughes | 01.06.2008

Review by Cherry Hughes, BSA Education Officer, of Stuttering Stan Takes a Stand by Artie Knapp (Author), Barbara L. Gibson (Illustrator). 2008.

Stuttering Stan takes a standThis book for children in the early years of primary school has an American setting that could be quite interesting. However, I read it with mounting concern about the appropriateness of its characterisation and theme. By using the alliterative name Stuttering Stan for the main character, a squirrel, the focus is on his stammer. This could possibly encourage the audience to believe that name-calling of a child who is different in any way is acceptable. I am surprised that the author did not simply call the squirrel Stan and allow his stammer to become apparent in the text through his interaction with other animals and the descriptions of his own feelings.

The tale about how the squirrel begins to accept his stammer and stand up to a bully lacks pace and description. It endeavours rather laboriously to show Stan building his confidence in himself, confronting his friends about their teasing and helping them to understand how hurtful they have been. None of the characters in my view, including Stan, are sufficiently engaging to hold a child's attention as the story slowly develops.

There are five colourful illustrations by Barbara L.Gibson in the thirty pages of text and I would consider them to be the best part of the book.

From the Summer 2008 issue of 'Speaking Out', page 11