Monday, November 16, 2009

Stanley's Beauty Contest

Kids Can Press
Linda Bailey; Illustrations by Bill Slavin

Without his knowledge or consent, Stanley's "people" have entered him in a beauty contest. He is rudely awakened quite early one morning and given the royal treatment - bath, banana shampoo (yuck!), blow dry and sparkly new collar.

Stanley howls his best Aroooooo! as protest, but to no avail. He is unceremoniously dumped into the backseat of the car, without his breakfast. At the dog park, Stanley finds his friends Alice, Nutsy and Gassy Jack. One big sniff tells him he isn't the only one who smells funny. Gassy Jack smells like sweet pea, but I'm guessing with a name like that, that sweet smell is fleeting.

There are three contests lined up: Fastest Dog, Best Tricks and Most Beautiful Dog. None of the dogs particularly want to compete, but the prizes happen to be the best smelling treats on Earth. Stanley's nose and belly tell him he just has to win one. Sadly, Stanley doesn't even come close to winning a single contest. He does, however, find himself standing right next to the unguarded treat table .....

Consequently, there is a little incident involving Stanley, the treat table and thirty-seven other dogs in one big puppy pile-up. It is complete chaos, and every perfectly groomed dog has their their fur matted and ribbons ripped. And boy, is it FUN! Stanley goes home knowing he had a great day, even if he isn't the world's Most Beautiful Dog.

Stanley brings a lot of personality and life to this story. It's a great tale full of fun doggy action. In my opinion, one of the best detail is the names of his canine companions. I wonder what in the world made the author choose Nutsy and Gassy Jack? Pretty gosh darned funny and I'm glad she did! Get ready for a rolling good time with Stanley and his hilariously named pals as they cause mayhem in the dog park.

If you enjoy Stanley's Beauty Contest, you are in for a triple treat! He also stars in three other books from Kids Can Press.


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