Review: Planet Stan by Elaine Wickson



Meet Stan, a boy obsessed with the solar system and owner of quite possibly the most annoying little brother in the entire universe! When he is not having to avoid the plague of snails that Fred has housed under his bed, or sidestep placing his feet in toothpaste- filled slippers, Stan likes to draw detailed maps of the planets or describe his life in pie-charts, his best friend Liam calls him Graph Vader!

The book begins with a trip to the local museum, where Fred adores the T-Rex skeleton, known as Rory, so much that he colours its toenails with his crayons. Fortunately, Stanley always carries wet wipes when he is left in charge of Fred, and averts disaster with the grumpy curator. Unfortunately, the museum plans to replace Rory with a different exhibit, which causes multiple meltdowns from Fred. The story follows Fred’s attempts to protest the removal of Rory in parallel with Stan’s attempts to win a real telescope with his science-fair presentation team.

This book is a delight to read with its short chapters, illustrated throughout with Stan’s unique pie charts, Venn diagrams and bar charts. The illustrator, Chris Judge, has created some amazing diagrams to visualise the crazy details of Stan’s existence, for example:


In the age of data visualisation I think that this book is a wonderful way to introduce children to these concepts. Additionally, the humour will greatly appeal to MG readers with the numerous sticky situations caused by Fred. Finally, Stan is a really sympathetic character for whom you root in his ongoing battle to produce a presentable science competition entry in the face of a continuous onslaught of snot, spilled drinks and low flying spaghetti bolognese! An excellent addition to any Key Stage 2 classroom or school library and one which I highly recommend to all readers of 8+!

If you love Planet Stan, then look out for Action Stan!



The second book in the “Stan” series again charts the chaotic family life of Stan and his permanently sticky little brother Fred.

Fred’s new obsession is a TV adventurer named Flint Danger, and he claims that like his hero, “danger is in my DNA”. He decides to test this by signing up for the school camping trip to Whispering Woods, and Stan – lured by the prospect of light-pollution-free star-gazing recklessly volunteers as a mentor. Oh, how he will come to regret that decision!

A hilariously action and mud-packed adventure ensues which will have readers laughing and turning the pages with relish. As with Planet Stan, the fun and fact-filled text is accompanied by a marvellous range of illustrated graphs and charts created by Chris Judge.

I think that this is a wonderful series of books which will be enjoyed by anyone in Key Stage 2, and I can’t wait for the next instalment of Stan’s escapades.



5 thoughts on “Review: Planet Stan by Elaine Wickson

  1. Love the way this takes data representation in a more accessible and meaningful way- great little cross curricular links that show that things like venn diagrams are for more than comparisons/interrelation or pie charts are for more than an alternative to bar charts marking how many blue cars went past the school!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think they tick all the boxes of a funny, entertaining read for children with the added benefit of an imaginative use of data representation. Down here in Somerset we are being encouraged to introduce ideas of data representation into our computing lessons and these books have given me some great ideas for that. Most importantly, children who have borrowed them so far are recommending them to friends!

      Liked by 1 person

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