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Stanley Goes for a Drive [Kindle Edition]

Craig Frazier
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

One hot day, Stanley sets out for a drive with little on his mind. The road is dusty, the pond dry, the cows hot and tired—a usual summer day...or is it? In his first book for children, renowned graphic designer Craig Frazier has combined bold, dynamic illustrations with a simple story that celebrates the imagination and the art of looking at the world in your own way.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3–Imagination and creativity are quietly, but fantastically, at work here. Stanley goes for a drive in his pickup on a hot, dry day when there isn't a cloud in the sky. "The pond was so dry that it couldn't even make a reflection." Suddenly, he sees a black-and-white spotted cow amid a herd of black bovines. He milks it, and the spots drain off. He tosses the milk into the sky, where it forms puffy white clouds that darken and pour rain. The earth turns green, the pond fills up, the air cools down, and Stanley heads home. Life has returned to normal. The brevity of the text and the simplicity of the illustrations create a fine-tuned balance. Hand-drawn and colored on the computer, the graphics are reminiscent of 1950s advertisements. Crisp, clean edges contain the flat color. The limited palette is powerful: warm browns and oranges heat up the beginning pages; monochromatic greens cool and refresh the final ones. The masterful use of composition surprises readers with large shapes in the foreground that contrast with small, multiple figures in the background to create asymmetric balance and depth, drawing viewers in from near to far. Repetition of shapes and color provides a rhythmic flow and continuity throughout. Children will read both pictures and words in this visually outstanding work and then use their imaginations to drive beyond them.–Carolyn Janssen, Children's Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Picture books aren't just about pictures. As such adepts as Margaret Wise Brown, Byron Barton and Molly Bang have shown, the words are important too especially since there are, or should be, so few of them (Bang's brilliant Yellow Ball has just 28). Vocabulary, rhythm, placement on the page are all crucial. In his first children's book, graphic designer Craig Frazier makes the tricky art of marrying words and pictures look deceptively easy. When "Stanley set out for a drive with little on his mind" the single, inviting sentence on the first double page spread the world he sees is as empty and dry as his imagination, done in black, dusty browns and desiccated reds. But then, "Stanley passed a herd of cows. His eye caught by a cows bright, milk-white patches, "Stanley had an idea" that would change everything. In a dizzying chain reaction of creativity, he milks the cow, its patches become milk, the milk becomes clouds. Finally, "the clouds began to pour." As Stanley drives home, the pages, like his thoughts and spirits, have been struck green. The cow has just one apt word for this miraculous transformation: "Mooo." -The Washington Post

Frazier's (The Illustrated Voice) graphically expressive debut children's title innocuously begins as the story of a man and his truck on a searing, dusty day. But it soon sheds its initial pragmatism for a dreamlike flight of fancy. Reflecting the author's background in design and illustration, the full bleed, digitally colored artwork consists of simple form and silhouettes with occasional pixel like shadows suggesting three dimensionality. Stanley, a typical Frazier figure, "[sets] out on a drive with little on his mind" in his red, vintage pickup truck, sporting a vest, shirtsleeves and brimmed hat. Austere sentences underscore the normalcy: "There wasn't a cloud in the sky, just the baking hot sun....The pond was so dry that it couldn't even make a reflection." Passing a herd of black cows, however Stanley brings his truck to a halt; he approaches the lone spotted one with buckets, a stool and "an idea." After milking the animal, he tosses the buckets' contents into the air, and the milk fluidly morphs into clouds A storm brings rain and respite, transforming the parched and yellowed landscape into a verdant wonderland. The theme of finding magic in the mundane should appeal to readers of all ages who are perhaps already familiar with the enchantments that can be found in a seemingly ordinary day in the country. --Publishers Weekly

When Stanley goes for a drive in his old red pickup on a dried out, brown as dirt summer day, he's not thinking about much. Until, that is, he spies a black and white spotted cow on the side of the road. He milks the cow, and, magically, the milk from his buckets floats up and materializes as white clouds in the sky, taking the same shapes as the cow's spots. The clouds start to pour (rain, not milk) and the palette of the landscape turns from brown to green. Frazier, a renowned graphic artist, tells his story with color and shape; in a sense, the story is about the perception of color and shape. The appealing, crisp computer graphics (the art is hand drawn and colored on a computer) also evoke old fashioned silhouette art, and a variety of offbeat perspectives force readers to focus on details they might normally overlook. Reading this unusual, visually intriguing story is like examining a surrealist painting where something shifts inexplicably as one watches. Children may never view a spotted cow the same way again. --Kirkus Reviews

"Picture books aren't just about pictures. As such adepts as Margaret Wise Brown, Byron Barton and Molly Bang have shown, the words are important, too--especially since there are, or should be, so few of them (Bang's brilliant Yellow Ball gas just 28). Vocabulary, rhythm, placement on the page all are crucial. In his first childrens' book, graphic designer Craig Frazier makes the tri

Product Details

  • File Size: 1085 KB
  • Print Length: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC (January 13, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0065OCN3C
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743,823 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to ride with Stanley. November 22, 2004
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Stanley Goes For a Drive -- Children will "get it" while many adults will not because their imaginations have solidified. Children may have to explain it to their elders. Just share "Stanley" with a child and you'll see what I mean.

As a professional graphic designer with more than thirty years experience, a father and now grandfather, I give Craig Frazier an "A-Plus" on his first effort as author/illustrator/designer of a book for children. Mr. Frazier is a highly-respected recipient of many prestigious awards in the world of professional graphic design and illustration. I've been aware of his work for many years. Like his work for adults, Frazier has infused his first children's book with a certain ambiguity that asks his audience to become involved in the story and with each image and, to decide for themselves just what is happening. His narrative and pictures are rich in color and form. I sincerely hope that he will decide to follow "Stanley" with more titles for children.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stanley Fan November 23, 2004
This book has sparked the imagination of my 2 children, ages 4 and 7 and has become their favorite bedtime story. They have now become more aware of their surroundings as we drive along country roads in our area and they have come up with some very creative scenarios of their own regarding cows and clouds. I like the book for its bold and graphic illustrations. As we read it together, we keep finding details in the pictures that we hadn't noticed before and come up with new ideas as to how Stanley performs his amazing feat with the pail of milk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Freshest Perspective November 29, 2004
As a father of two girls, whom has been reading to them since their births, it is a great thing indeed to come across a book that opens the door to that majestic world of the imagination! There could be no more fertile a place to spend time with children, and this book brings thought and imagination together,it is truly a wonder!. Stanley Goes for a Drive is fantastic! Finally a book that does not beat the reader over the head with all the answers. It paints through wonderful illustration and story telling a fresh perspective for children to ponder. What a terrific book! Thank you Stanley and Craig Frazier!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for the next Stanley book...! November 11, 2004
This book is charming, imaginative, colorful... a delight. It takes a kid's-eye view of the world and shows how creativity has the power to transform things for the better. I hope to see many more from Frazier.
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5.0 out of 5 stars there's nothing to "get" July 19, 2009
It's hard to get my son to sit through a book that doesn't include some mode of transportation - especially when reading it for the first time. This one, however, he loved cover-to-cover. What's more, it wasn't the truck he was excited about. It was the "CLOUUUSSSS!!" (He's 18 months old)

He loves the illustrations as much as I do, and the way that the "CLOUUUSSS" magically float up from the pails of milk. I mean, what's not to love about that?

This book truly fosters the imagination and wonder of children. I am a firm believer that books (and adults) should encourage this imagination and wonderment. The story is simple, yes, but it leaves so much to the mind to interpret and continue on.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 ½ Who Let the Brown Out? March 22, 2005
Famed graphic designer and illustrator Craig Frazier picked one wrong color in this otherwise superbly illustrated book. Frazier chose a brown shade from his computer that will look unpleasantly familiar to those with diaper changing experience. Unfortunately, the plot is simple, and that makes the illustrations even more important.

Stanley drives his 50's era pickup truck along the rolling hills and flatlands of his ranch. The brown background symbolizes the dry, hot landscape, and it's repeated in tree braches and other details. The color is an immediate turn-off. This is unfortunate, because graphic design elements are not often seen in children's books. Frazier draws massive but simple geometrical shapes, muscular outlines, and flattened backgrounds that show off his shadow-blackened foreground objects. These elements are powerful exemplars of commercial and poster art imagery. He draws Stanley with oversized arms and torso to emphasize his strength, an oversized head-on view of the big orange truck eating up the dusty road, and a pond reflection so real that it looks like a cutout in the page.

The prose is, well, prosaic, with tired, familiar phrases (The barn roof was hot enough to fry an egg." "The pool was so dry that it couldn't even make reflections."), although Frazier's visual strengths add surprise and interest to the thin but imaginative "plot." Actually, it's hardly a plot, just an unusual occurrence along the road: When Stanley stops to milk a black and white streaked cow, half of the cow disappears. (I may be taking this too literally; it's possible that this is just Frazier's choice to de-emphasize the cow.) Then, when Stanley inexplicably tosses the milk pail contents into the air, the white liquid (milk? magic cow juice?
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