Travels with “Flat Stanley”

Travels with “Flat Stanley”

Last week while in the Monterey area I paid a visit to the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California, a museum which honors one of America’s greatest writers, John Steinbeck.

In 1960, Steinbeck set off with his standard poodle, “Charley,” on a journey around the U.S. in a camper truck named “Rocinante” (after Don Quixote’s horse). Today you’ll find the vehicle on exhibit in the Center, and you can read about the trip in Steinbeck’s book, Travels with Charley: In Search of America.

Like Steinbeck, I had a companion who joined me on my perambulations around the Monterey Peninsula, especially in and around Cannery Row (which is the title of one of Steinbeck’s novels) along Monterey’s waterfront.

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His name is “Flat Stanley,” and he’s got an app that you can use to take him traveling with you.

Flat Stanley Goes to School

Flat Stanley is a 1964 children’s book written by Jeff Brown.

Stanley gets “flattened” when a bulletin board hanging over his bed falls onto him during the night. Being flat has its advantages when it comes to travel, since Stanley could be put in an envelope and mailed Flat Stanley and Scout photo 1rather than having to ride in a car, bus or airplane.

The Flat Stanley Project” was started in 1995 by Canadian school teacher Dale Hubert. The idea was that students could connect with those at other schools involved in the project, and document where Flat Stanley had gone with them.

It was this type of school project that brought Flat Stanley into my life. I knew that he was on his way to my home in the San Francisco Bay Area, but he didn’t arrive until a few days after I left on my Monterey trip. My wife took his photo with our cat, Scout, and e-mailed it to me, so I’d know that he was in town.

Flat Stanley Goes Digital

While you can still buy the original Flat Stanley book as well is its sequels in print from Amazon.com, they now come in Kindle e-book versions, too. Barnes & Noble offers Flat Stanley in print and Nook e-books.

Flat Stanley Apps

Geography Lesson

Kids can learn the 50 U.S. states with the “US Geography With Flat Stanley HD” iPad app ($1.99) which covers these topics and more:

  • Geographic Locations
  • Capitals
  • Regions
  • Spelling
  • Flags
  • Landmarks
  • State birds

Parents will be pleased that the app does not contain in-app purchases, 3rd party ads, integration with social networks or links to other 3rd party apps.

Flat Stanley “Photo Ops”

You can put Flat Stanley into a photo and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Flatter World (the app’s developer) or e-mail with the free “Flat Stanley” iPhone app.

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You can use either your Facebook, Twitter, or Google Profile with the Flat Stanley iPhone app. You can make that profile, and the photos created using the app, either public or private. Location Service can be turned on or off.

You can create and give a name to more than one “Flat Stanley” and select colors for skin, as well as color and fashion style for shirt, pants and shoes, for each one. You can change those at any time in the app’s “Dressing Room.” (Girls may prefer to create a “Flat Stella” instead of a “Flat Stanley.”)

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Each “Stanley” (or “Stella”) has a “Bio” which can include birthday, “Foods I Would Like to Try” and “Places I Would Like to Visit,” as well as any other information you’d like to enter in the “About This Flat Stanley” box.

When you take a photo using the Flat Stanley iPhone app, you can insert one of the “Flat Stanleys” that you created in the app, or if someone has sent you the traditional paper “Flat Stanley” for a school project, you can use that instead.

You can put a “Stanley” or “Stella”  into an existing photo in your iPhone Camera Roll, too, as in this one in which he appears to be walking on the Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rockies.

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Photos uploaded to the Flatter World site are moderated for appropriate content. Those posted to Facebook are not.

After you take a photo with the app, you’ll be prompted to add a caption and then save the photo.

You can then share it on Facebook, Twitter, on Flatter World, or by e-mail. You can make the photos private or delete them.

I found saving and sharing photos worked inconsistently.

When I clicked on the “Photos” icon at the bottom of the app’s Home Screen, my first photo was there, but some of the others I had taken were not.

Some photos ended up under my “Profile,” but others didn’t. However, they all were saved to my iPhone’s Camera Roll (albeit without captions.)

Sharing on Facebook was problematic, too. Sometimes my “Flat Stanley” photos were posted to my Facebook Timeline, sometime they weren’t.

You can “Favorite” or comment on photos, too.

Flat Stanley For Teachers

Elementary school teachers should check out free “Demo” version of the “Flat Stanley Classroom Edition.” This video shows how it works.

httpvh://youtu.be/LKcHXu25uUQ
 

For more information on Flat Stanley digital products, visit the developer’s Website.

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