The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

Jon Scieszka, Author, Lane Smith, Illustrator Viking Books $17.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-670-84487-6
Grade-school irreverence abounds in this compendium of (extremely brief) fractured fairy tales, which might well be subtitled ``All Things Gross and Giddy.'' With a relentless application of the sarcasm that tickled readers of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs , Scieszka and Smith skewer a host of juvenile favorites: Little Red Running Shorts beats the wolf to grandmother's house; the Really Ugly Duckling matures into a Really Ugly Duck; Cinderumpelstiltskin is ``a girl who really blew it.'' Text and art work together for maximum comic impact--varying styles and sizes of type add to the illustrations' chaos, as when Chicken Licken discovers that the Table of Contents, and not the sky, is falling. Smith's art, in fact, expands upon his previous waggery to include increased interplay between characters, and even more of his intricate detail work. The collaborators' hijinks are evident in every aspect of the book, from endpapers to copyright notice. However, the zaniness and deadpan delivery that have distinguished their previous work may strike some as overdone here. This book's tone is often frenzied; its rather specialized humor, delivered with the rapid-fire pacing of a string of one-liners, at times seems almost mean-spirited. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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