Sometimes, given the realities of limited time and lots to read, I buy books in a popular series, but don’t actually read them all the way through. Case in point: Stink. He is Judy Moody’s younger brother who, since 2005, has had a series of his own early chapter books – with big text and terrific cartoon-like illustrations by Peter Reynolds. I read the opening pages of the first book, ordered each one in the series, and started filling up our very popular Megan McDonald shelf in the school library. Until Book # 8 – Stink and the Freaky Frog Freakout. I opened a box of new books about 30 minutes ago, opened to the first page of the latest Stink adventure, and didn’t look up until I finished. I love the Judy Moody books so I was already familiar with Stink, but now I see why our 2nd and 3rd grade boys keep the “Stink section” hopping.
I have to admit that part of my complete absorption in this book was because I could relate to it. Here’s a passage from page 3. Judy is speaking: “That’s because I’m a Shark and you’re a Polliwog. You’re going to have to put your head underwater some time, Stink. You can’t stay a Polliwog forever. I’m almost a Barracuda!” I totally understood Stink’s anxiety. I was a Polliwog (or equivalent) for way too long because I refused to put my head underwater. I don’t know exactly what I expected to happen if I went under, but I remember well-meaning comments from friends and family, and still took my time. It was my grandmother who gently encouraged me to take the plunge – and I didn’t even have the incentive of of diving for coins like Stink does!
This book is also full of information about frogs which should appeal to its target readers. After getting out of the pool, Stink finds a “bumpy lump” of a frog in the boy’s locker room which is just the beginning. Stink finds a frog in the bathtub, the garage – and a few other places before he starts learning more from a guide at the local nature center. This is a book I want to share with students – and teachers. Frog season just around the corner, and Stink may inspire a few outdoor adventures!