Wednesday 11 August 2010

Stanley and the Magic Lamp

Stanley and the Magic Lamp by Jeff Brown, illustrated by Scott Nash (Egmont)
PB RRP $9.95
ISBN 978-1-4052-0418-7
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Mrs Lambchop is extremely particular about how her two boys Arthur and Stanley behave. They must speak correctly, mind their manners and be honest at all times. She is broad-minded and accepting, and keeps her family in order, including Mr Lambchop, with loving but firm guidance. Stanley, who was flat for some time after his bulletin board fell on him, has overcome his flatness and filled out nicely, much to the Lambchops’ delight.

Arthur resents Stanley’s ability to get attention especially the focus on him while being flat. The truth is that Stanley is quite smart and his view of the world is different to that of his brother, while Arthur appears insecure. But they love each other regardless of any and all things and get on well together.

Stanley found an old green teapot on the beach during summer and has kept it to give to his mother for her birthday. He starts to clean it and a genie appears through three puffs of smoke. It is the first time the genie, Prince Haraz, has been out in a thousand years. He was punished for misbehaving by the genie king and forced to stay inside the teapot for that length of time.

Stanley tells his parents about Haraz but initially they don’t take him seriously but they do invite the prince to share their family day with interesting outcomes. Stanley accidently wishes for an Askit Baskit and peculiar requests are granted.

When the Lambchops realise that Arthur’s genie is real and so are the wishes, Stanley’s mum wishes to be famous, Arthur wants to be the strongest man in the world and to be able to fly, and their life becomes unsettled and surreal.

The family, most of all the boys, learn that ‘there are unexpected consequences when wishes come true’ and that one should be careful of what one wishes for. This is a wonderful warm and entertaining series. The Lambchops are funny yet down-to-earth people who share the unusual aspects of their children’s lives and their adventures, while keeping them grounded and under their guidance.

All of the illustrations are black and white, many full-page, which support the text beautifully, allowing the reader to follow the happenings visually. This series of Stanley and the Lambchops are for the 6+ age group.

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