Nathaniel Eckstrom, Stubborn Stanley, Scholastic Australia, August 2017, 24pp., $16.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781760155025
Stanley is an inventor. His ideas for machines and contraptions are quite marvellous. Most of them even work once he’s built them. Stanley’s days are filled with designs, construction and creating. Everything is just right as long as things are done the way Stanley wants them done. He doesn’t need to listen to anyone else or even have anyone’s help. Except, something is missing. Insisting on doing everything all by himself means this inventor leads a lonely life.
Then Stanley spots Martha. Martha’s an inventor too who seems equally lonely. Together, they learn to listen and share ideas. As their partnership grows, so does Stanley’s realisation that life is a lot more fun when you aren’t so stubborn.
Stubborn Stanley is the second picture book written and illustrated by Nathaniel Eckstrom. Illustrated in Eckstrom’s trademark style, the pages are filled with colour and extraordinary inventions. The illustrations allow us to step straight into Stanley’s world where everything is about inventing and making. Adding depth to the story, the images highlight Stanley’s determination to create and make. His up-cycled contraptions are a visual joy to explore.
Eckstrom’s illustrations evoke a range of emotions as we see Stanley struggle to comprehend his loneliness. Stanley’s plans drawn on the chalkboard wall are adorably sad. The end pages of the book are delightful and add to the story.
Stubborn Stanley is a sweet tale of friendship, imagination and collaboration. Recommended for ages 3 and up.
Reviewed by Fiona Miller-Stevens