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donnaodonnellfigurski.com - Stanley's Beauty Contest
Stanley's Beauty Contest

Stanley’s Beauty Contest
Written by Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Bill Slavin

Publisher: Kids Can Press
ISBN-10: 978-1554533183
Ages: 4 to 8

Review and Lessons Plans
Donna O'Donnell Figurski

There’s the Miss America contest and the Miss World contest. There’s even a Mr. Universe contest for all those bodybuilding men out there. There are beauty competitions for children, too, but did you know that there are beauty contests for dogs?  Well, actually there are. In fact, Porterhouse recently won the title in the bulldog contest. The judges weren’t looking for the most beautiful dog. No! They were looking for the dog that drooled the most or had the biggest bowed legs or the most bloodshot eyes. Now that’s something to aspire to! I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are also beauty contests for Chihuahuas . . . dogs with names like CoCo or Kiki or Pepito who, adorned in ribbons and bows, strut down the platform to the delight of their owners. Seems like wearing a pink tutu might be a little embarrassing . . . even for a dog.

In Stanley’s Beauty Contest, written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Bill Slavin, Stanley is just an ordinary dog -- a mutt really. But to his owners, he’s special. When Stanley’s people entered him in a beauty contest, Stanley was out of his element. No amount of bubbles or baths or banana shampoo could transform this dog into a beauty queen.

Stanley didn’t place in the other contests either. It’s not because he didn’t try . . . he did. But Stanley was not fast enough. His best tricks weren’t good enough and his puffed-up fur and best doggy grin simply couldn’t win him the prize. But, how could he resist the delicious smell of the dog-bone cookies wafting through the air? He only wanted a nibble. So what was Stanley to do?

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters.
FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Stanley had a bath,” said Abby.

“But, he hated baths,” said Mikaela.

“Stanley doesn’t like baths,” explained Mark, “because he doesn’t like the bubbles. He doesn’t like water and he doesn’t like being clean, I think.”

“And . . . he hated banana shampoo,” added Rena. “My shampoo is mango and it’s really good.”

“I have cherry shampoo, but I don’t like it. I want to get a strawberry scent,” said Johnny.

“I like the smell of strawberries,” said Danae with a smile.

“Dogs don’t like taking baths at all,” explained Callie. “They like to be all dirty.”

Jewel wrinkled her nose. “If I were Stanley I would like to be washed,” she said, “because then I would be soft and clean and smell good.”

“If I were Stanley I would jump out,” said Brayden shaking his head. “I would run so fast!”

Jewel nodded in agreement. “Most dogs like to be in their filth. They don’t know that they’re dirty.”

“And . . . then Stanley’s owners forgot to feed him,” said Rena as she rolled her eyes.

“ . . . His breakfast,” said Mikaela in utter disbelief.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” explained Abby.

“Stanley was sad because he did not have his breakfast,” said Mark.

“ . . . And he was very hungry,” explained Brayden.

“If I had a dog,” said Callie, “I would never forget my dog’s food.”

“Then Stanley’s owners took him to a contest,” said Rena. “First a running contest, then best tricks, then the beauty contest.”

“Stanley was trying to look good at the beautiful contest,” said Danae. “If I were in a contest,” she continued, “it would be a hair salon contest because I like doing hair.”

“I would go on a mountain hiking contest,” said Mark.

“I think I could win a fashion show because I am really good with clothes,” said Jewel. “I can create a lot of crazy outfits.”

“I would win a burp contest,” said Rena with a grin, “because every time I eat or drink something, I burp for some reason.”

Mark supplied the special effects and everyone groaned.

“I think Stanley didn’t like all the contests because he kept on losing,” explained Mark.

“He was trying his best,” said Brayden.

“But, he lost all of them,” said Mikaela.

“Well . . . I think they should have a which dog can eat the fastest contest,” said Brayden, “because Stanley was really, really hungry. He would definitely win that one. He would be the first one with hot dogs stuffed in his mouth. Mmmm! Oh, yeah! That’s good stuff!”

“I wonder if the dogs wondered what it would be like if there were a people contest,” said Danae.

“That’s really funny,” said Jewel and everyone giggled.


A Dog is Just a Dog – Or is It?:
Language Arts/Science

They say that a dog is a man’s (boy’s or girl’s) best friend. Dogs are loyal. They love their owners. Their little tails wagging behind them proves that. If that doesn’t convince you, I bet their slobbery tongues will as they lick your hand or pant leg.

Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and kinds. Did you know that there are more than 150 breeds of dogs in America? I wonder how many different kinds of dogs the children in your class have. Kids love to talk about their dogs. So start a discussion about dogs and find out. Then make an A to Z list of dogs.

•    List the letters of the alphabet on chart paper. Write one letter per line.
•    Then have the children tell what kind of dog they have at home.
•    Next ask them to think of as many other dogs as they can think of.
•    Write all the dogs’ names next to the appropriate letter.
•    Some letters may have more than one dog, but try to find a dog breed for each       

Alaskan Malamute
English Cocker Spaniel

If you need help you can use one of the following sites:

Dogs at Enchanted Learning.com
Dog Breeds A to Z

We’ve Got Talent: Language Arts/ Social Studies

We all like to show-off sometimes. Everyone is good at something. Jewel is good at putting clothes together to make funky outfits. Callie is a jump-roping star. She thinks she could win and jump rope contest. Johnny can touch the tip of his tongue to the end of his nose. It’s true! I’ve seen him do it. Kids have all kinds of hidden, unusual talents. So, why not show-off with a talent show?

•    First discuss Stanley’s Beauty Contest with the children.
•    Have them identify Stanley’s contest attempts.
            o    Fastest runner
            o    Best tricks
            o    Beauty contest
•    Lead the class in a discussion about various talents or accomplishments that they can
      do and list them on he board.
•    Tell the class that they are going to have a Talent Show Day and set a date.
•    Ask the children to think of something they can do really well and have them sign up
      for their talent.
•    Don’t forget there will be prizes for all. No, not dog bone cookies. People Cookies.

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

How To Love Your Dog – How To Do the Tricks
All About Dog Breeds: How to Love Your Dog
Kids and Dogs Safety Tip Sheet


Hot Dog And The Talent Competition written by Paul Stewart, illustrated by Nick Ward
The Cow That Was the Best Moo-ther written by Andy Cutbill, illustrated by Russell Ayto
Dogs (Smart Animals) written by Meish Goldish
Stan the Dog Becomes Superdog written and illustrated by Scoular Anderson
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All contents copyright (c) 2002. Donna O'Donnell Figurski.
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