Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown – Planning Overview

Written by Dan

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Are you looking for a fun and engaging way to teach your students about geography? Incorporate elements of storytelling with an exciting project!

Flat Stanley, the classic children’s novel by Jeff Brown, offers an excellent opportunity to explore cultural diversity and landmarks worldwide – all from the comfort of your classroom.

With this tried-and-true literature lesson plan, you can spark curiosity in even the least enthusiastic reader.

In this guide on Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown’s planning overview, we’ll outline how to execute a successful activity that engages students while helping them develop valuable mapping and literacy skills!

Related: For more, check out our article on The Witches by Roald Dahl here.

Plot Summary of Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley is the story of Stanley Lambchop, a young boy whose world is turned upside down when he wakes one morning to find he has been flattened by a bulletin board that fell off the wall during the night.

With his newfound thin and flexible body, Stanley embarks on thrilling adventures, including becoming an envelope and travelling worldwide.

Along the way, Stanley meets new friends, learns important lessons about friendship and loyalty, and discovers that being flat isn’t all bad.

After many exciting events, Stanley eventually returns home, receiving a surprise from his family. Ultimately, Stanley realizes that life may have its ups and downs, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still have a fantastic adventure.

Related: For more, check out our Planning Overview for The Machine Gunners here.

WeekFocusActivities and Objectives
1Introduction to the Story– Read aloud the first chapter.
– Discuss the concept of a flat character and what that means.
2Character Analysis– Explore the character of Stanley and how he deals with his new shape.
– Create a character profile for Stanley.
3Setting and Plot– Map out the various settings in the book.
– Identify key plot points and how Stanley’s flatness affects the story.
4Themes and Morals– Discuss themes such as acceptance and adventure.
– Talk about the moral lessons Stanley learns throughout his journey.
5Creative Writing– Write a diary entry from Stanley’s perspective.
– Imagine a new adventure for Stanley and write a short story.
6Art and Craft– Create a Flat Stanley cutout for students to take home and photograph in different places.
– Make a Flat Stanley travel journal documenting his adventures.

This table provides a structured overview of a six-week teaching plan for “Flat Stanley,” including key teaching points and activities that can be incorporated into your article.

Flat Stanley

Character Descriptions in Flat Stanley

Stanley Lambchop

Stanley is the protagonist of the story and the one who is flattened. He is an intelligent, brave, kind-hearted, and loyal boy whose life takes an unexpected turn after he gets flattened. Throughout his journey, Stanley never loses hope and embraces his new shape to have all kinds of thrilling adventures.

Arthur Lambchop

Arthur is Stanley’s father and a loving parent who helps him through difficult circumstances. Along with the rest of the Lambchop family, Arthur supports Stanley in his travels by sending packages and messages to him wherever he goes.

The King of Zandora

The King of Zandora is a generous monarch who meets Stanley during travels. After hearing about Stanley’s plight, the King decides to take up for him and give him a much-needed makeover.

Mr Jolly Vending Machine Man

Mr Jolly is a minor character who occasionally appears throughout the book to surprise Stanley with treats like candy bars or other small gifts that help boost his morale while travelling.

Related: For more, check out our Planning Overview for The Dam by David Almond here.

Themes in Flat Stanley

Life’s Unexpected Changes and How to Adapt

The central theme of Flat Stanley is how to cope and adapt when life throws unexpected changes at you. This change is literal for Stanley as he wakes up one morning to find that a bulletin board has flattened him.

Despite his new shape, Stanley experiences thrilling adventures and eventually learns that being flat isn’t all bad. His journey teaches him to embrace life’s ups and downs, no matter how strange or complicated they seem.

Friendship and Loyalty

Friendship and loyalty are central themes in the story of Flat Stanley. Throughout his travels, Stanley meets many people who show him kindness and help him in times of need.

Whether it’s from his family sending letters or the King of Zandora giving him a makeover, these acts of friendship remind Stanley that he is not alone despite being away from home.

Embracing New Experiences

Flat Stanley encourages its readers to be open-minded and embrace new experiences.

From travelling around the world to trying new things like becoming an envelope, Stanley takes advantage of every opportunity that comes his way. In doing so, he discovers that an adventurous spirit can lead to even more unexpected rewards.

Educational Opportunities in Flat Stanley

  1. Discuss the themes of life’s changes, friendship and loyalty, and embracing new experiences.
  2. Learn about different places around the world where Stanley travels to.
  3. Encourage children to develop their creativity by developing ideas for how Stanley could have adapted to his new shape.
  4. Use Flat Stanley to discuss courage and resilience in the face of adversity.
  5. Examine how characters collaborate and communicate throughout the story, such as through letters from family members or packages from distant friends.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1: Exploring Life’s Unexpected Changes


  1. Discuss the theme of life’s unexpected changes and how to respond and adapt to them.
  2. Explore Flat Stanley as an example of how to embrace change.
  3. Reflect on how we can use our creativity to adjust to life changes.


Discuss how life does not always go as planned and can throw surprises at you. Introduce the concept of resilience in the face of these challenges by bringing up the example of Stanley Lambchop from Flat Stanley and his experience dealing with changes in his shape.

Ask students what they think Stanley did that made him successful in adapting to this sudden change (encourage creative answers!). Explain that they will be exploring Flat Stanley further as a way to discuss life’s changes today.

Main Teaching Points:

  • Read through Flat Stanley, discussing each chapter along the way, emphasizing key messages about resilience and creativity in responding to change (helpful questions for discussion include “What kind of challenge did Stanley face? How did he respond? What was the result?”).
  • Brainstorm potential responses and creative solutions that other children may come up with when faced with similar situations in their own lives (welcome all ideas – encourage children not to put limits on their imagination!)

Reflection & Key Questions:

Wrap up by connecting back to the main themes from before – discuss how it is essential to know how to respond and how we should approach future dilemmas courageously, even if it makes us feel uneasy or scared at first.

Some helpful questions include “What does it mean to be resilient when faced with life’s challenges? Are there any moments where taking risks helped turn out great things for you? How so?”

Lesson Plan 2: Understanding Friendship & Loyalty Through Flat Stanley


  1. Understand the importance of friendship and loyalty through exploring examples from Flat Stanley.
  2. Analyze different relationships between characters, such as family members or new acquaintances, which demonstrate these values.
  3. Reflect on personal experiences related to friendship and loyalty, sharing stories where-in positive outcomes have resulted due to collaboration between people who care for each other.


Discuss what comes into our mind when we think of friendship- explain that while friends make us laugh, they can be very loyal and supportive too!

Consider examples from your own life or those around you as illustrations for this (e.g., “I remember a time when my friend helped me out even despite being busy himself/ My mom has been supportive during difficult times”).

Introduce Flat Stanley as another example of how two people can work together towards achieving something more significant than either could accomplish alone – introduce characters who demonstrate these traits, such as his parents, his brothers Arthur & Frank, or King Maximilian from Zandora etc.).

Main Teaching Points:

  • Explore the story further by looking at specific scenes which show acts of support between different characters (encourage students to come up with their examples aside from those mentioned)
  • Ask students if they experienced situations similar to those in Flat Stanley, where someone could achieve something extraordinary through strength and togetherness.
  • If yes – discuss further why they think this worked out well – emphasizing loyalty and trust between individuals as core contributors here!

Reflection & Key Questions:

End lesson by reflecting on qualities found within strong relationships; discuss what makes one group successful but another less effective at replication the same feat done previously (key questions here are “Which relationships have been most supportive towards you throughout your life? What made them stand out above others?)

Books with Similar Themes to Flat Stanley

  1. How I Became a Ghost by Tim Tingle
  2. Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon
  3. My Father’s Hands by Jo Witek
  4. Little Saves the Day by Michael J. Rosen
  5. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
  6. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  7. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  8. Charlotte’s Web by E.B White


Q1: What is the premise of “Flat Stanley”?

A1: Ah, an intriguing question! “Flat Stanley” is a unique children’s book that follows the adventures of Stanley Lambchop, who becomes flat as a pancake when a bulletin board falls on him.

Despite his unusual condition, Stanley discovers he can do things no round person can, like slipping under doors or being mailed in an envelope. Can you imagine the thrilling adventures this could lead to?

Q2: What age group is “Flat Stanley” suitable for?

A2: The beauty of “Flat Stanley” lies in its universal appeal. Typically, it’s best suited for children aged 6-10 years.

However, its engaging narrative, humor, and life lessons can be appreciated by older readers as well. Isn’t it amazing how some stories transcend age barriers?

Q3: How does “Flat Stanley” promote diversity and inclusion?

A3: Great question! Throughout his adventures, Stanley interacts with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

This exposure encourages readers to appreciate and respect differences, fostering a sense of global citizenship. Isn’t it wonderful how literature can shape our world view?

Q4: Are there any follow-up books or series to “Flat Stanley”?

A4: Indeed, there are! Jeff Brown expanded Stanley’s adventures into a series known as the “Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures,” each book taking Stanley to a new location. Can you envision the exciting journeys awaiting young readers?

Q5: How can “Flat Stanley” be integrated into classroom activities?

A5: Oh, the possibilities are endless! From creative writing prompts to art projects and geography lessons, Stanley’s adventures can spark a myriad of educational activities.

Have you ever thought about sending your own ‘Flat Stanley’ on an adventure and documenting his travels?

Q6: Can “Flat Stanley” help children cope with change or differences?

A6: Absolutely. Through Stanley’s experiences, children learn that being different isn’t necessarily bad and can, in fact, lead to unique opportunities.

This lesson can be instrumental in helping children navigate change or differences. Isn’t knowing how a simple book can impart such valuable life lessons is comforting?

Website Resources

LiteracyShed Plus

LiteracyShed Plus  is an online resource for teachers and parents seeking engaging activities with their students or children.

The page dedicated explicitly to Jeff Brown’s Flat Stanley provides a comprehensive overview of the book and its central themes, including recommendations for further inquiry and ideas on fun activities to explore these topics further.

From creative writing prompts to creative questioning, Literacy Shed Plus has plenty of resources to give readers an immersive experience into Brown’s beloved classic.



About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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