cover image I Love You Stinky Face

I Love You Stinky Face

Lisa McCourt, McCourt. Troll Communications, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8167-4392-6

In this sentimental q&a, a child imagines himself as various uncuddly creatures while his mother promises unconditional love. The child's queries flow in waves of thick, black hand-lettered words with the name of a despicable monster occasionally highlighted in an appropriately putrid color: ""But Mama, but Mama, what if I were a super smelly skunk, and... my name was Stinky Face?"" His mother replies (in evenly paced typeset text) that she would bathe him, ""and if you still smelled bad, I wouldn't mind, and I would... whisper in your ear, `I love you, Stinky Face.'"" The child is inspired by stuffed animals and a picture book to conjure uncharming beasts that range from an ape to a seaweed-covered swamp creature to a pointy-headed cyclops. Fantasy spreads show each of the boy's metamorphoses, alongside his fearless mother (faced with an alligator, she buys a bigger toothbrush, and for the meat-eating dinosaur she makes hamburgers). Moore's (A Frog Inside My Hat) soft sunset shades of lavender, teal, pink and peach convey the fanciful animals that, no matter how toothy or slimy, become gentle under the mother's loving gaze. McCourt's (The Rain Forest Counts!) sweet yet effective game sends a soothing message. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)