cover image Unstinky


Andy Rash. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-439-36880-3

Bud the stinkbug has a problem. While insects such as P.U. Bottoms and Lord Stinkington can create a glorious, reeking range of odors, from eau de dog doo to eye-watering garbage truck, Bud’s emanations lean toward candy canes and meadow flowers, and he fails every stinking competition. Still, he practices tirelessly, inventing his own dance as part of his training. Bud’s smooth moves and disappointingly floral scents attract a passing bee, who invites him to a nearby hive party, and he comes away with newfound friends and a reassuring message: “Maybe stinking isn’t your thing.... But you sure can dance!” The book ends abruptly, but with a crowd-pleasing focus on all things rank, Rash (Archie the Daredevil Penguin) creates a playful twist on familiar themes of fitting in and finding one’s talents. Thickly lined gouache-and-ink illustrations ramp up the humor, from the expressive, goofy cast to small groovy details (the bees’ white go-go boots, the daisy petals encircling the title). Filled with active commands (“Stomp your feet!” “Waggle your bottom!”), this will be a winner for readalouds. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Sept.) [/em]