- Craig Graziano
When a strange noise interrupts the Wimbledon family's sleep, father Walter goes to check. "It's only Stanley," he says. The family dog is howling at the moon. Everyone returns to the slumber, but the interruptions do not stop.
A clanking sound turns out to be Stanley hammering at the oil tank in the basement. A strange odor from the kitchen leads to the dog cooking catfish stew. Stanley appears to accomplish more in a single night than most people do in a whole week!
There is an understated humor to Stanley's tireless efforts. Whenever Walter goes to check on each interruption, the book shows a hilarious scene of him discovering the dog completely lost in his particular task. Jon Agee includes other clever visual gags, too. The family cat bears the worst brunt of Stanley's nighttime activities, getting covered in oil and being shocked when the crafty canine fixes an old, rabbit-eared television.
Another fantastic read about the unusual nighttime habits of animals is David Wiesner's gorgeously illustrated Tuesday. In this wordless picture book, a swamp full of frogs spend a night on the town, getting into all sorts of mischievous antics.
Why is Stanley such a diligent dog? Couldn't all these projects wait until morning? It's Only Stanley has a laugh-out-loud ending that will make you wish your own dog was this motivated!