Skip to main content

Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H Reynolds, 118pp, RL2


If you read my review of Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, you know how that I am newly and very pleasantly surprised by Megan McDonald, a well loved author who has definitely left her mark on the world of children's books with her Judy Moody series. But what I will remember and value her for most is the brilliance of the her Stink series, which is will appeal to boys and is superlative among books written at this reading level, a level for emerging readers that serves as a bridge between leveled readers and traditional chapter books.

My favorite parts of Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker involve idioms, which are being taught to Stink by his 2nd grade teacher Ms. Dempster, and the power of letter writing, the formal structure of which is also being taught in school. As I mentioned in my review of Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid, the kids in Ms. Dempster's class are always writing, which I think is fantastic! When he purchases what he considers to be a faulty jawbreaker, Stink writes a letter of complaint to the candy manufacturer. To his great joy and surprise, the company sends him a complimentary ten pound box of 21,280 jawbreakers for his trouble. This immediately inspires Stink to write several more hilarious letters of complaint that net him even more candy, toys and other assorted goodies.


McDonald has a few other plot threads working, one of which involves glow-in-the-dark bacon and egg pajamas, a misplaced birthday party invitation, an accidental punch in the head to Stink's best friend Webster, and a really excellent use for all the swag Stink accumulates. As usual, McDonald does some great classroom story telling, this time involving the coolest pajama day ever. I have seen a few pajama days in my time, usually in kindergarten, but never one that, in addition to the usual stuffed animals and parades, included a spooky story time with drums.

The best part of this book, besides all the candy -  and who doesn't love creative writing about candy??? - is the page of idioms at the end of the book. McDonald does a great job of weaving them throughout the story and is thoughtful enough to list 37 of them. I was fascinated by idioms as a teenager and tried, feebly, to make my own list (this was before the wealth of information to be found online.) This made me question making them an integral part of a book intended for second graders, but, I am all for throwing concepts like this at kids at an early age because I am all about the written word and where it can take you!


The Stink Series:














Readers who enjoyed this book might also like:

Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon
Sticky Burr by John Lechner
The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman
Stuart Goes to School by Sarah Pennypacker
Soupy Saturdays with the Pain and The Great One by Judy Blume




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…