Flat Stanley is a great book. It is about a little boy named Stanley. When he goes to bed one night, everything is normal. When he wakes up the next morning, though, he is as flat as a pancake. Jeff Brown, Flat Stanley's author, didn't plan to write this famous book. His sons, J.C. and Tony, helped to create it simply by going (or not going!) to bed.
Jeff Brown was born in 1926. He was born in New York. He lived there for most of his life. When he was born, though, he wasn't Jeff Brown. His name used to be Richard Brown. Mr. Brown was an actor when he was a child. During this time, there was another actor who was also named Richard Brown. Mr. Brown didn't want people to confuse him with the other actor, so he changed his name to Jeff. He was in many plays. He acted in radio dramas, too. Soon, Mr. Brown became a full-time writer. But he never planned to write books for kids. Mr. Brown wrote for famous magazines. He worked for The New Yorker. He also wrote for Life and The Saturday Evening Post.
One night Jeff Brown got ready to tuck his sons in bed. They did not want to go to sleep. The boys kept asking Mr. Brown questions and pretending to be scared. They thought that the longer they talked, the longer they could stay awake. One of them finally said, "Dad, what if a giant sign falls on me while I am sleeping?" Mr. Brown told his son that he'd just wake up and be as flat as a pancake! This got the boys thinking. What if a little boy woke up as flat as a pancake? What would his life be like? Soon Jeff and his sons created many stories about a fake, flat friend.